June 12, 2000 12:00 PM

Carly Simon (Arista)

Three years ago, Simon paid tribute to romantic films of the 1940s with a collection of standards, Film Noir. Now she returns with an album that unfolds like a one-woman show. Always something of a drama queen—just ask ex-lover “Warren Beatty, whom she skewered in her 1972 hit “You’re So Vain”—Simon here mocks her own theatricality in “Actress,” one of 11 self-revelatory songs that unfold like dramatic vignettes. Some, such as the opening track, “Our Affair,” about the wisdom (and heightened eroticism) of waiting before leaping into love, are sweet. “We Your Dearest Friends” is an acidic swipe at showbiz critics: “We make fun of how you sing and then we imitate your speech/ And the stupid things you say we like to slander.” Simon is also adept at comedy, as she shows in “Big Dumb Guy,” about her preference for unreconstructed meat-and-potatoes types over successful dot-com dweebs. “Whatever Became of Her,” about a long-ago bride looking at her wedding photos, is straight out of Pathos 101—sappy, but it breaks your heart.

Bottom Line: Boffo performance

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