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POP STARS ***** Great Balls of Fire **** Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door *** Good Vibrations ** Maybe Baby * Ain’t That a Shame

CAROLE KING “City Streets.” Capitol ***

This is an encouraging step for King, whose albums in the past dozen years have had little of the melodic sense and conversational tone that made “Tapestry” and its successors so appealing. The album contains too much filler to be considered a complete return to form, but its best moments suggest that King is finally back on track. The title song, a taut, mid-tempo rocker with a tasty Eric Clapton guitar solo, is King’s best single since “Jazzman” 15 years ago. “Someone Who Believes in You,” one of two songs King wrote with longtime partner Gerry Goffin, would have been right at home on “Tapestry”: It’s warm and sentimental without being syrupy. Those waiting for King’s “Private Dancer” or “Graceland"--a consistent, convincing comeback statement--will have to keep waiting, but at least there are few new King classics to enjoy in the meantime.


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