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  Listen Up! 8/16/02 Listen Up!

Friday, Aug. 16

Peter Wolf, “Sleepless,” Artemis Records. An unexpectedly low-key but delightful new release from the former J. Geils front-man. He’s mining in some alt-country fields here and there, with gentle acoustic guitars backing his intensely involved vocals. Wolf doesn’t know how to sing half-assed, he’s always pushing the songs towards aggression or sexuality or some other full-out emotional content. He does a rework of “Homework,” which he did in his old band, that’s positively spooky. But, mostly, he just sings good songs and grows old amiably.

Cyndi Lauper, “Shine,” no label on the promo. This is a five-song EP which may or may not be what Lauper will release when this finally comes out. Information is sketchy; there’s absolutely nothing written on the CD (which comes in a blank jewel case) other than song titles. I’ll tell you this. She’s got five of the best songs of her career right here, and she’s singing even better than she ever has. Lauper has unfairly been relegated to the novelty nostalgia bins of history, when she’s one of the more talented singers/songwriters/performers of the last 20 years.

Michael Jackson, “Thriller,” Epic Records. Have you heard this record? Really, it’s great. I bet it could be a hit. There are all these amazing songs, these powerful grooves, these terrific vocals. It’s not like anything released in the last fifteen years by the same guy who made this album. It’s really, really good, and holds up better than most records from 1983 you haven’t listened to in a long, long time.

--Steve Pick



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