Fee Waybill

Read My Lips

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What would you get if you crossed the Tubes' singer with Toto? Tube-To! No kidding, that's actually what happens on Fee Waybill's first solo album, Read My Lips. As awful as Tube-To sounds, at least it would have had some name recognition. Fee Waybill's name couldn't draw flies to a picnic, despite the Tubes' recent commercial success. (For future reference, any solo album that features a song called "I Could've Been Somebody" probably isn't destined for greatness.) If the Tubes were a faceless band, Fee gets the material he deserves: generic studio rock with generic concerns (life, love). It wouldn't be unfair to expect Read My Lips to sound like Outside Inside, except that the Tubes were a working group. Imagine that album with one-seventh of the creativity, and you're getting hot. "Saved My Life" at least sounds like "She's a Beauty," and "Nobody's Perfect" is kind of catchy, given the slim pickings here, but this isn't likely to please all but the most timid fans of the Tubes' last two records. David Foster and his coterie simply don't have the contagious energy of the Tubes, which makes otherwise lively cuts like "Who Loves You Baby" sound pre-processed and lifeless. Don't misunderstand: The blame lies squarely with Waybill, who co-wrote all the material (and presumably wasn't forced at gunpoint to sing "I Don't Even Know Your Name (Passion Play)"). In hindsight, it was the beginning of the end, with Love Bomb providing the final nail in the coffin.

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