Picks and Pans Review: The Bliss Album...(vibrations of Love and Anger and the Ponderance of Life and Existence)

P.M. Dawn

P.M. Dawn’s 1991 debut album flowed and undulated—it was something new, hip-hop that ignored the streets and aimed for the heavens. Embraced by the mainly white rock press as the second (non-threatening) coming of rap, the two Cordes brothers of Jersey City, N.J., were, not surprisingly, reviled by rappers for the sin of being soft.

Terminally trippy Prince Be (Attrell Cordes, 22), who raps and sings while his brother D.J. Minutemix (Jarett Cordes, 21) concocts the grooves, knows he’ll never be seated at parties next to anyone named Ice, and he doesn’t care. Be hooks up his celestial pony to George Michael’s “Father Figure (Patient Eyes),” and in a move guaranteed to get his ghetto pass revoked for life, has pop-dance phenom Cathy Dennis sing along. Further insults to the home-boy status quo include a duet with comeback queen Boy George, a remake of “Norwegian Wood” and the soulful, exquisite “I’d Die Without You.”

But for all the numerous pluses, something is amiss. Novelty teeters toward formula: the windy, multitracked sighs, the lyrics you need a Ouija board to decipher, the whole forced hippie hip-hop fusion. While there is no denying Be’s talent and melodic pop savvy, he needs something new to say and a new way to say it. (Gee St./Island)