Greg Kihn
Horror Show
(Clean Cuts)

Horror Show is a prime example of just how much extra gloss the money from a major label can put on a record. Because Horror Show, on the independent Clean Cuts label, doesnít have much of the slick pop-rock polish that marked Kihnís early '80s hits "The Breakup Song (The Donít Write 'Em)," "Jeopardy," and "Lucky." A mix of cajun, country and rock rhythms, with a laidback feel and world-weary vocals, Horror Show sounds at first listen like an honest, but low key effort. A couple of subsequent listens prove that Kihn's talent for writing hooks hasnít left him, just grown more subtle. Kihn is sounding more like a somber back porch John Hiatt than rousing Huey Lewis these days, which isnít all bad.

And heís an author now too: at the same time as Horror Show the album came out, Horror Show the novel came out. But rest assured, one has little to do with the other. The album does include two "horror" oriented songs, the personal quiet lament "(sometimes life is like a) Horror Show" and the campfire singalong "Vampira," both of which sound inspired by the Tim Burton film Ed Wood. But the rest of Horror Show includes bongo mantras "Noa Noa," gospelish country "Trials, Troubles, Tribulations" and acoustic guitar blues "Come Back Baby."

Kihn's now-weathered voice sounds best on the slower, more haunting numbers like "Horror Show," and a cover of Ray Davies' "Waterloo Sunset." The mournful dirge of "JFK," however, should be carefully avoided.


Fat Boy Pizza Breasts

Itís not that Chicago DJ Mancow isnít funny sometimes, but more often than not, heís just unapologetically gross — rather than an album of parody songs (which is what youíd expect from a goofy morning DJ) this is an album of disconnected soundclips from Mancow's morning show on 103.5 FM. From obnoxious (and sometimes downright mean) prank calls to nauseating on-air enema enactments to a variety of scatalogical rants, much of this 73-minute, 53-track CD is not something youíd want to listen to all the way through twice. Fat Boy Pizza Breasts is a disorganized hodge podge spew of radio skits, promotional commercials, and vile talk of puke and poo. And people want to wake up to this? How do they keep their breakfast down?

Soundtrack Alert:

There are a stack of new soundtracks on the racks, though most arenít likely to soar up the charts anytime soon. The mainly instrumental scores to Crash by Howard Shore and Jackie Chanís First Strike by J. Peter Robinson are both available from Milan. The raucous and occasionally exotic orchestral Chan movie soundtrack includes one crunchy instrumental rock track, "Jalopy" by Daisyhaze, as well as four selections from the Rumble in the Bronx soundtrack...Universal has released the Randy Edelman score to Daylight, which also includes Donna Summers' movie theme "Whenever There Is Love" and Ho-Humís "Donít Go Out With Your Friends Tonite"...The Jerry Maguire soundtrack is the most rewarding of the newcomers, thanks, no doubt, to the influence of hip director Cameron Crowe (he used to be an editor at Rolling Stone magazine). Included in the soundtrack are The Who's "Gettin In Tune" and a live version of "Magic Bus," and an alternate take of Bob Dylan's "Shelter From The Storm." His Name Is Alive provides some ambient instrumental guitar and synthesizer loops in "Sitting Still Moving Still Staring Outlooking." Elvis Presley's "Pocketful of Rainbows" and Paul McCartney's "Singalong Junk" and "Momma Miss America" are included, as are newer songs from Bruce Springsteen, Rickie Lee Jones, and a melancholic piano hymn by Aimee Mann (produced by Michael Penn, who she recently released a Christmas song with). Rounded out by songs from Neil Young, and Nancy Wilson, this is a warm, easy-flowing soundtrack of both familiar and unfamiliar rock...The Ghosts of the Mississippi soundtrack was released on Columbia and features a mix of orchestral pieces with blues songs from Dionne Farris, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Nina Simone and B.B. Kingís trademark "The Thrill Is Gone."