Pop: ALBUM REVIEWS

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Various Artists: A Very Special Christmas 3 (A&N4) An opportunity for various ensembles to embarrass themselves by piling on the Crimbo cliches with their own songs (Smashing Pumpkins), or strangling a classic within an inch of its life (Patti Smith with "We Three Kings"). Only the dance outfits manage a sparky Yuletide offering: Rev Run & The Christmas All Stars - including Puff Daddy, Snoop and Salt 'n' Pepa - steam in with "Santa Baby". Come December 26, though, this will be in the dustbin. HH

MC Lyte: Badder Than Before (Eastwest) Hit and miss remix of hip-hop warrior gal MC Lyte's last album. The attempt to extend its lifespan by getting the remix heavy squads in (Bad Boy, Superfly etc) doesn't work when they fail to pay attention to her personality. While "TRG (The Rap Game)" is lyrically intelligent and the bass packs a punch, the recent single "Cold Rock a Party" isn't improved. So many genres are thrown in - techno and funk as well as hip hop, it's hard to imagine someone as vociferous as MC Lyte approving of all these backings to her vocals. HH

The Very Best of Sting & The Police (A&M) Sting's solo work and already over-familiar Police hits make up this compilation, for which there is little justification except the record label's profit line. Curiously, while The Police sound crude and dated, Sting's Eighties and Nineties offerings - including "Fields Of Gold" and "Seven Days", with their subtle strains of jazz and light-classical sounds, reflect well on the man. I wonder what happened to the other two members of The Police? HHH

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