Picks and Pans Review: The Wanderer
With disco on the wane, Summer has again donned her traveling shoes at 31, and with this 10-song collection works her way to the top of femme fatale rock. Her smoother, more complex style, which appeared in pubescent form on last year’s Bad Girls, is here confidently sassy. And her heavenly aspirations (she’s among pop music’s “born again” congregation) surface in a pleasing Pentecostal way on Looking Up, Running for Cover and the hypnotic I Believe in Jesus. Yet side by side with those are Breakdown and Nightlife, paeans to earthier delights. The album’s clincher, though, is Cold Love, which sizzles like a block of dry ice. Much credit for this impressive disc belongs to Summer’s virtuoso producer, Giorgio Moroder, coproducer Pete Bellotte and engineer/arranger/ keyboardist Harold Faltermeyer. They make Summer’s astonishing pipes sound sinewy yet not malnourished and keep her from succumbing to trendy toughness or emotional detachment. With a playful sensuality that recalls Josephine Baker, Summer proves she has the style to transcend musical fashion.