In the late 1960s Creedence Clearwater Revival created some of rock music’s most distinctive sounds when it seamlessly stitched together country-rock tunes and the lyrical flavor of Delta blues. That sound, best characterized by a twangy guitar and gritty vocals, returns on Centerfield, Creedence cofounder John Fogerty’s first album in more than a decade. Devotees of the band’s influential style will undoubtedly find much of the album thirstquenching. Rock and Roll Girls, with its playful plucking and giddy yodelling, exhibits a refreshing abandon, and Fogerty’s howl on the tougher Mr. Greed proves the consistency of the songwriter’s social conscience. But other songs, including the title track and The Old Man Down the Road, which shamelessly copies the Creedence classic Run Through the Jungle, are romantic excursions into nostalgia. Only on the incisive ballad I Saw It On TV does Fogerty put
his past into relevant focus when he sings, “The A-bomb fears/Annette had ears/I lusted in my heart.” In three pithy lines Fogerty manager to distill the complex reality of the TV generation into the same universal feelings that Creedence once mined so well in song.
As the soulful singer in the British synthesizer band Yaz, Alison Moyet—nicknamed Alf—made even the starkest electronic arrangements sound warm and richly human. On her confident solo debut album, Alf, Moyet unleashes a vocal cyclone: her gifted voice is capable of purring softly one moment and scaling screaming heights the next. All Cried Out measures Moyet’s wide, expressive range, and Love Resurrection reveals her affinity with 1960s Motown. Invisible, written for her by the veteran Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier (a lyricist for The Suprêmes), displays the raw power of her contralto. Even Where Hides Sleep, a gothic tale of refuge, reaches a stirring crescendo as Moyet sings of the need to be “caressed by oblivion and swallowed by dreams.” With such emotional depth, Moyet is instilling some much-needed passion into pop singing. -NICHOLAS JENNINGS
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