Carole King

Speeding Time

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Carole King was reunited with Lou Adler -- the man responsible for her legendary Ode albums, including Tapestry and Music -- for this disappointing experiment in digital sound and synthesizers. If there's one artist utterly at odds with state-of-the-art technology, it's Carole King. The charm of her best albums was that they sounded like demos, and her performances never needed clever sonic trickery or up-to-the-minute studio wizardry in order to be good. Dragging her forcibly into the '80s was not the brightest of Adler's ideas. The result is ten songs, all adequate, some fine, struggling to overcome totally unsympathetic arrangements. "Computer Eyes" is a case in point; an engaging midtempo break-up song, choked half to death by pointless, frantically sped-up synthesizer arpeggios. "Crying in the Rain," originally recorded by the Everly Brothers, is given a similarly stultifying synth makeover. "Alabaster Lady" allows King to get back behind an acoustic piano (at least for a minute or two), and in doing so, provides this album's moment of magic.

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