June 20, 1988 12:00 PM

Jesse Johnson

Of all the Minneapolis minions who have followed in the mincing musical footsteps of that semipornographic pixie Prince, Johnson has created the most rewarding and savvy records. That is until now. Every Shade of Love is a disinterested and disappointing piece of work, despite the fact that Johnson shows more flashes of hot guitar talent than on his first two albums. The problem lies in the frowsy listlessness of Johnson’s would-be funk grooves, formerly his strong suit. The songs here, particularly Color Shock and So Misunderstood, sound as if Johnson switched on his synthesizer and let it choose a few bottom-heavy melodies at random. The only selections with a degree of freshness are two mid-tempo numbers, I’m Just Wanting You and the title track. For some musicians, going 2-for-8 on an album would be a pretty good day at the office. Johnson has already proved he can do a lot better. (A & M)

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