For her fourth solo outing, Annie Lennox has ditched her usual producer, Stephen Lipson, in favour of Glen Ballard, the American best known for inflicting Alanis Morissette upon the world. While there's no denying the power and command of Lennox's vocals throughout, it's not a particularly fruitful alliance, Ballard's bland sound denuding the songs of impact. Alarm bells really start ringing two-thirds of the way through, when one realises that "Coloured Bedspread" is just about the most enjoyable thing here, precisely because its understated Eighties electro-funk so closely resembles her work in Eurythmics. The rest of the album vacillates between sludgy power ballads, such as "Smithereens" and "Lost", and Elton-esque MOR rockers, such as "Love is Blind". The Aids-benefit anthem "Sing" struggles to make much impression despite a choir comprised of virtually every popular female singer in the Western world, and a few from beyond. Lennox's greatest failing throughout Songs of Mass Destruction is her too-eager recourse to lyrical cliché, a parade of banalities every bit as clunky as that title.
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