Lisa Loeb

Cake and Pie (A&M)

Top 10 Things to Like About the New Lisa Loeb Album:

(10) It's 100 times better than the new Alanis. And dig: The best track (the dreamy/anthemic "The Way It Really Is") was co-penned by Glenn Ballard. (9) No "Stay" -- none of these dozen tunes is as cloyingly mush-silly as that ubiquitous alterna-'90s classic, yet all contain hooks worthy of its template. (8) In a keen display of "roots," she eschews the pinched-nosed squeak of today's Jewels, adopting instead the doe-eyed warble of Susanna Hoffs. (7) Two words: Dweezil Zappa, who plays on and produces several tracks (notably the lush, orchestral "Underdog"), and who, in Loeb's liners, is deemed the one "who inspires me and makes me laugh even when the cake burns." (6) Cheesecake pictures: Actual photos of yummy confections in the booklet. Loeb hereby earns this year's "Best Use of Oozing Pie Imagery on a Record Sleeve Since '70s Group Mom's Apple Pie" award. (5) Two more words: Those glasses. Too calculatedly geeky in the first go-round, but now, in a post-Tina Fey world, they're darned sexy! (4) Yet two more words: Taylor Dayne, who doesn't appear on the album but gets a thank you in the credits (plus we just like saying the name "Taylor Dayne"). Tell it to your heart. (3) Loeb pulls off the estimable hat trick of releasing her CD on a record label that, technically, does not exist! The original A&M closed its doors and pink-slipped its employees several years ago in the face of the Universal merger juggernaut, leaving behind nothing but a prized label NAME. Cool, huh? (2) The "I Want My VH1-Classic" factor: If several tunes here sound snarkily familiar at times, don't be ashamed to admit that you still love Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl" ("We Could Still Belong Together") or The Vapors' "Turning Japanese" ("You Don't Know Me"), not to mention anything that has that fat '80s drum sound.

And the number-one thing to like is . . . (1) No "Stay." Easily worth a double entry.

 
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