Carole King

City Streets

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Carole King's first album in six years also marks her return to Capitol Records, for whom she recorded from 1977 to 1980. She tries updating her sound, with aggressive guitars played on a couple of cuts by Eric Clapton, synthesizers, and drum machines, while singing lyrics that declare her renewed passion and hope. King was never one of pop's deep thinkers, which got her into trouble when she started going cosmic in the late '70s, but here she restricts herself to a kind of willed optimism and determination, and she sings as though she means it. City Streets is thus King's most engaging record since her early '70s hits, and even if it's too late for her to reclaim her place in pop music, that's encouraging.

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