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Diva: Annie Lennox Arista 18704-2, CD; 50:04.

Performance: B

Titled with as humorous an attempt at self-definition as John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Two Virgins, this first solo

Sound: A

album by Eurythmics' former better

paradox-intensely soulful vo-

cals but somewhat soulless produc- tion. With her slightly reedy yet pan- ther-slick voice and a quite haunting

half is a

musicality, Lennox weaves and insinu-

ates like the bluesiest of

torch singers:

will be

The dark and plaintive "Cold"

sung in champagne-filled rooms for

years to come, and the crystalline ten-

sion of "Why" could push a broken-

hearted lover to suicide (or therapy, at

least). As phenomenally as Lennox

sings, the production isn't warm

enough to complement her. Swaddled in synth that constructs a sterile world at odds with her smcky voice, Diva posits Lennox as an other- worldly queen whose pain and comfort play out on a different, grander scale

than ours. Lennox is both lead singer

and background singer, majestically

overdubbing herself from song to

song. Sometimes this heroic design

washes over you magnificently, as in

"Why" and the utterly beautiful, con-

templative "Primitive." When it fails, the dissonance between the power of the expression and the banality of the ex-

pressed is disheartening. lmmensely talented, Lennox occasionally seems

as removed from the common man as

Bush does: She claims in a

George

press

release that the title Diva is

meant to be ironic, but she also be-

lieves the gorgeous cover shot of her is

meant to depict faded beauty. Yeah,

right. See for yourself.

Lennox wrote eight of the 11 songs here, co-writing two of the others and

covering

ren

the old Al Dubin-Harry War-

tune "Keep Young and Beautiful"

with a scratchy old-record sound. She

sounds delighted and delightful on

the most human thing on a powerfully

it-

sung album.

Frank Lovece

Little Village Reprise 26713-2, CD, 46.24

Performance: A

Little Village is comprised of John Hiatt on guitar and occasional piano, Ry Cooder on guitars, Nick Lowe on

bass, and Jim Keltner on percussion. The band played together before when

they recorded Hiatt's excellenl Bring

the Family in an

intense four-day blitz

to play

in 1987. Everyone wanted

again but business got in the way and it took a few years to happen. Once the

contractual wrinkles were ironed out

and the guys finally got down to their

real business of making music, they

did a sparkling job The 11 songs here are all co-written by the four Villagers. Hiatt sings lead

on six, Lowe on two, Cooder on one, and the three singers share the re-

maining two. This allows a healthy di- versity, as each has a distinctive style that complements the others. "Solar Sex Panel" is a slinky rocker

running over a

sinewy Cooder riff,

while "She Runs Hot," the most upbeat

song here, features Cooder's signature

slides. "Take Another Look," with a

smart Nick Lowe vocal and some swell wide-angle stereo, has a shimmery feel

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