SUMMER SPLASH II : Our Picks for the Best of the Summer : POP MUSIC
If a kindly aunt gave me gift certificates to five concerts this summer, here’s how I’d use them. The acts are from different genres, but they share a sense of individuality and vision. I’ll be seeing two of the artists (numbers two and four) for the first time, which lends an enticing element of surprise to both evenings.
But part of the lure of the other selections is that they are intuitive performers whose emotional tone on stage changes from night to night, depending on their moods. This isn’t pop by rote, but pop by imagination and heart.
1. Sinead O’Connor. The Irish singer-songwriter opted for principle over network-TV exposure recently by refusing to go on “Saturday Night Live” because she found guest host Andrew Dice Clay’s foulmouthed routines about women offensive.
In “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got” and “Nothing Compares 2 U,” respectively, O’Connor has arguably the most compelling album and single so far in 1990. The album, especially, touches on matters of personal turmoil and spiritual belief with uncommon intimacy and intensity. She’ll be at San Diego State University’s Open Air Theatre on Tuesday and the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles on Thursday and Friday.
2. The Stone Roses. Possibly the most promising and independent rock breakthrough in England since the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Manchester quartet sounds on most of its debut album like the Byrds on a magical mystery tour. But somehow it shifts over to a sort of Hendrix-meets-Curtis-Mayfield funk in the single “Fool’s Gold.” The band is due to make its Los Angeles debut in late June, but don’t expect them to play the Roxy or the Palladium. The quartet thrives on finding novel concert sites.
3. Rickie Lee Jones and Lyle Lovett. A dream package. The blues-tinged Jones and the country-accented Lovett use irony and wit to express truths about relationships. Jones’ growing optimism and faith should balance nicely Lovett’s lingering sarcasm and doubt. They’ll be at the Greek Theatre on July 11 and at the Santa Barbara County Bowl on July 15.
4. Soul II Soul. Big question mark. Can this loose-knit British soul ensemble, led by Jazzie B, bring to life on stage the silky textures of its best-selling, 1989 “Keep on Movin’ ” album? The record was seductive enough to make the question worth exploring. The answer is due July 20 and 21 at the Universal Amphitheatre. (See review of the new Soul II Soul album on Page 69.)
5. Al Green. It has been almost 20 years since he ruled the charts, but he’s still the greatest soul singer since Otis Redding, and he’s even more compelling live than on record. Like Jerry Lee Lewis, he mixes the sensual and the secular in strange ways--and the combination is a touch different every night. He’ll be at the Strand in Redondo Beach on Aug. 2 and at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Aug. 4.