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RECORD RACK

Gore, Girl-groups

April 05, 1987|CHRIS WILLMAN

"LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS" sound track. Various artists. Geffen. 1

With this edition of Record Rack, Calendar introduces its quick-reference, facial-expression rating symbols. Translation: 1 = "Great Balls 'o Fire" 2 = "Good Vibrations" 3 = "Maybe Baby" 4 = "Running on Empty"

"Shing-a-ling, what a creepy thing / To be happening," indeed. Like the cast album for the play before it (a somewhat different and equally indispensable record), the score for "Little Shop" is an utterly infectious mix of gore and Greek-chorus girl-group harmonies, along with other '50s- and '60s-derived pop sounds and more traditional musical comedy-type showcase numbers. Rick Moranis, Steve Martin and Levi Stubbs (as the man-eating plant) provide the yuks, but it's Ellen Greene--as the woman-child who goes from a squeaky whisper to a throbbing soprano--who sends both the movie and the music soaring. "Little Shop" has the benefits of both utter irreverence ("The Meek Shall Inherit") and complete caring for its human characters ("Suddenly Seymour") and sometimes even a touching, satiric level in between ("Somewhere That's Green"). With that combination, it offers much-needed hope that musicals do have a place in the '80s and beyond. "Shang-a-lang, feel the Sturm und drang in the air . . ." Mr. Spector, meet Mr. Faust.

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