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POP ALBUMS

Strait's 'Love' a Winner

In its second week in release, country star's album unseats Blige as nation's top seller.

May 08, 1997

Country star George Strait's "Carrying Your Love With Me" was the nation's top-selling album last week, replacing MCA label-mate Mary J. Blige's "Share My World" at the top of the chart.

Strait's album, which debuted at No. 2 behind the Blige record on last week's chart, sold nearly 179,000 copies to leapfrog into the No. 1 position, according to SoundScan. "Share My World," meanwhile, dropped to second place after selling about 153,000 copies.

What's Hot

Here are some recent releases that are generating critical or commercial attention:

The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Life After Death" (Bad Boy/Arista). Rarely has a rapper attempted to please so many different audiences--and done it so brilliantly.

Ani DiFranco's "Living in Clip" (Righteous Babe). DiFranco pumps emotions up to heroic scale, emerging as the bruised, enraged female counterpart to Springsteen's sensitive Jersey boy.

Polara's "C'est La Vie" (Interscope). Polara's major-label debut is a work for all eras, a collection of exceptionally accessible tunes combining the melodic hooks found in the best classic rock with the attitude and bite of the most polished '90s alternative rock.

Alison Krauss & Union Station's "So Long So Wrong" (Rounder). When Krauss sings about happiness on her fine new album, it's to warn that you can't always trust it.

Heavy D's "Waterbed Hev" (Uptown/Universal). Characteristically, the New York rapper discovers new ways of being the sensuous, sometimes erotic romantic without being vulgar.

U2's "Pop" (Island). Engrossing mix of the energy of the dance music scene with songs that explore questions of personal and spiritual ideals and doubts.

Nanci Griffith's "Blue Roses From the Moon" (Elektra). Griffith isn't a natural rocker, so it's with the relatively subdued, moving new songs and a duet on her old "Gulf Coast Highway" with Hootie's Darius Rucker where she's best.

Kenny Lattimore's "Kenny Lattimore" (Columbia). The latest member of the soul "retro-lution" movement (D'Angelo, Maxwell) is blessed with a seductive voice that can be sexually forthright one minute and delicate the next.

Son Volt's "Straightaways" (Warner Bros.). Jay Farrar continues to capture the restless, melancholy feel of classic country-rock, but his songs lack the insight and imagination to give the album more than a surface appeal.

George Strait's "Carrying Your Love With Me" (MCA Nashville). Like Dirty Harry, Strait knows his limitations, and like Clint Eastwood, he plays to his strengths as he gets older. Though he sounds more sprightly than ever, he's still unable to breathe life into the vaguely drawn ballads here with vocal power alone.

What's New

Hanson's "Middle of Nowhere" (Mercury), Robin S' "From Now On" (Big Beat/Atlantic), the Bee Gees' "Still Waters" (Polydor), Buckwheat Zydeco's "Trouble" (Mesa/Atlantic).

What's Coming

Tuesday: Brand New Heavies' "Shelter" (Delicious Vinyl/Red Ant).

May 20: John Fogerty's "Blue Moon Swamp" (Warner Bros.), Michael Jackson's "Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix," (Epic), the Foo Fighters' "The Colour and the Shape" (Roswell/Capitol).

May 27: Paul McCartney's "Flaming Pie" (Capitol).

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