June 29, 1998 12:00 PM

Julie Gold (Gadfly)

Listening too long to this album is like being flogged with cotton candy. Gold, a Philadelphian best known as the composer of the 1990 hit “From a Distance,” tends to dwell on the sweet and dreamy part of her style. In “Welcome to Paradise (For Randy),” a sort of Manhattanized “I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven,” she sings: “Anne Frank and Ryan White have become friends/ Dancing on clouds where the song never ends.” This chronic Pollyannaism isn’t all that new, of course. Gold even had a one-woman show called From a Distance & Other Songs of Hope. So even though she sounds vocally like Carole King, she rarely musters anything like King’s soulful, sexy delivery. Gold is too witty to ever seem drab, but the liveliest track on this album is “The Language of Love,” and even it has goody-two-shoes overtones: “There’s nothing more to know/ You just open up your heart and let it flow.”

Bottom Line: Treacle, best taken in small servings

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