POP: ALBUM REVIEWS

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Mic Geronimo: Vendetta (Epic)

Mic Geronimo's recent top-20 single status was down to Mr Midas Touch Puff Daddy on "Nothin' Move But The Money", but Puffy is just one of a lexicon of producers flexing their muscles here. Take one rapper of minor- league vocal appeal, foist a dozen or so of hip hop's production supremacists on him and the results are an album which pounds with confident tunes, yet which has little of Mic's own personality HH

Various Artists: Great Expectations (Atlantic) Songs of varying degrees of poignant melodicism make up this soundtrack to the Dickens-for-the- millennium-era flick. Ex-Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell contributes a yearning strummer while Tori Amos does her Celtic goddess bit. Reef are amongst the many timewasters. Like most film soundtracks, there is no coherent theme or identity to pull this album together, yet it's not without creditable moments. HH

Ben Folds Five: Naked Baby Photos (Virgin, below)

Old sessions, live cuts and early singles make up this retrospective. At best, it shows the budding of the Broadway show-style flamboyancy which distinguishes them from their orthodox guitar contemporaries. Too often, though, the taste police are caught off-duty, allowing plunges into squelchily embarrassing, geekoid experimentalism. The sway "Satan Is My Master", which lurches from twinkly ballad to speed metal is painful. H

John Mellencamp: The Best That I Could Do (Polygram TV) Bizarre timing this, considering this compilation only covers the first 10 years of his career and ends at 1988. It would have served better to have arrived in 1988, reflecting, as it does, middle America seen through the eyes of an old school rocker. He's sort of pitched between monoliths Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams, but apart from on "Jack And Diane", is even more anachronistic. H

Angela Lewis

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