October 10, 1988 12:00 PM

Peter Cetera

At times this album seems as if it is intended to be funny. The song Scheherazade, for instance, which Cetera wrote with co-producer Patrick Leonard and Diane Nini (Mrs. Cetera), includes the lines “She was the daughter of the grand vizier/A real beauty with a heart of gold, she was so sincere” and “He made a promise on the morning star/He would change, throw away his scimitar.” That begins to look like foolishness rather than wit, though, when it becomes clear how often the album’s lyrics are trite: “Why don’t you save me/I’m burning with desire;” “Every time I have it made/I let it rain on my parade.” The melodies are nondescript and, with the exception of the title song (a lullaby), Cetera sings them in a generally blaring way, like an air-raid siren with a mute. That histrionic style made more sense when he was part of Chicago, where he was competing with a brass section. Here he’s singing in front of a small group focused on synthesizers, yet he hasn’t toned down very much. The gentleman doth protest way too much. (Warner Bros.)

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