Huey Lewis & the News

Fore!

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Sports was one of the rare mainstream pop/rock albums where everything worked -- the songs were catchy, the sound was inviting, and it all sounded perfect on the radio. It would have been tough for Huey Lewis and the News to match its quality with the follow-up, Fore!, and it comes as little surprise that Fore! suffers from an overdose of the very things that made Sports nearly irresistible. Where the songs on Sports were so straightforward that they seemed inevitable, much of Fore! sounds labored, particularly when the News try to write a middle-class anthem. It's one thing to celebrate "The Heart of Rock & Roll," but it's quite another to proclaim it's "Hip to Be Square," especially if you're supported by a chorus of football players. And "Hip to Be Square," as well as "Stuck With You," where a married yuppie couple can't divorce because it would simply be too much hassle, makes Lewis' complacent tendencies all too clear. That wouldn't be a big problem if the songs were as catchy as "If This Is It" or "Heart and Soul," but they aren't, and the sound of the record is so sterile that the News no longer sound like a working band. Fore! is a reasonably enjoyable facsimile of the pleasures of Sports, yet it lacks the gleeful sense of fun that made that record, as well as portions of Picture This, so enjoyable.

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