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Stephen Holden


  • John Lennon's Music: A Range of Genius

    More than any other rock musician (with the possible exception of Bob Dylan), John Lennon personalized the political and politicized the personal

    • Music
  • Music Box

    With a voice that could stop a truck, a husband (Sony Records chief Tommy Mottola) who runs the store and only the hottest songwriting and producing collaborators going (Walter Afanasieff, C+C Music Factory and Babyface), Mariah Carey is the closest thing to a sure bet in pop music right now. And at 23, she has […]

    • Album Reviews
  • My World

    Willie Nelson and Ray Charles are such monumental personalities that it almost doesn't matter what kinds of records they make. Each man ranks among the dozen or so pop legends who don't have to do much to please an audience beyond simply being themselves. But when they put in extra effort, as each singer does […]

    • Album Reviews
  • What You See Is What You Sweat

    "Yo, gang! let's kick the ballistics!" shouts Aretha Franklin in the opening moments of "Everyday People," her spirited house-music remake of Sly Stone's classic hippie anthem. The song, which is heard in regular and remixed versions on What You See Is What You Sweat, is one of the high points of an album that credits […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Power Of Love

    In the seven albums (eight, counting a 1989 best-of package) that he has released in the last decade, Luther Vandross has established himself as Smokey Robinson's successor in building a personalized pop-soul loveland around beautiful singing. Because his extraordinarily rich voice, which straddles the line between tenor and baritone, is much more operatic than Robinson's, […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Daylight Again

    First, last and always, there is the blend. The way the three voices fit together remains one of the most singular and pleasing harmonic fusions in all of rock. And that is why, when the solo careers of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash have been on the skids for years, they can reunite […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Synchronicity

    Synchronicity is a work of dazzling surfaces and glacial shadows. Sunny pop melodies echo with ominous sound effects. Pithy verses deal with doomsday. A battery of rhythms — pop, reggae and African — lead a safari into a physical and spiritual desert, to "Tea in the Sahara." Synchronicity, the Police's fifth and finest album, is […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Winds of Change

    Though the Jefferson Starship's musical horizons have shrunk from mystical folk-rock id mundance hard rock, the old bird still refuses to land. On Winds of Change, the Starship's hard-rock image is spruced up with thicker harmonies and a more anthemic style. Grace Slick takes a couple of grand, swooping solos — the predatory vamp of […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Forever, For Always, For Love

    The most gifted male pop-soul singer of his generation, Luther Vandross has broken away from the macho chest-beating of the likes of Teddy Pendergrass by crooning instead of roaring at moments of high passion. Forever, for Always, for Love, his second solo album, hits emotional peaks when the singer is choking back his feelings in […]

    • Album Reviews
  • The Nylon Curtain

    "Goodnight Saigon," the turning point of Billy Joel's ambitious new album, may well be remembered as the ultimate pop-music epitaph to the Vietnam War. Into a pastoral soundscape a sputtering helicopter ominously steals, followed by martially elegiac piano chords and, finally, by Billy Joel's tight, wound-up voice, higher and tenser than usual: "We met as […]

    • Album Reviews