just a pretty face and a beat

More Than Just a Pretty Face, (EastWest)
MC Peaches

By Cary Stemle

Two things: a) This is a Time-Warner product; and b) I think the public should boycott this recording.

You may think that these these two facts are linked by the Ice-T flap. T'aint so. I am recommending a boycott because "More Than Just Another Pretty Face" is purely pedestrian.

MC Peaches is a precocious lady rapper who struggles between tasteful musical style and tasteless lyrical bragging. Ultimately she has few original things to add to the musical dialogue.

When she focuses on beats and sounds, such as on covers of John Waite's "I Ain't Missin' You" and Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust," MC Peaches does all right, showing a knack for nuance and texture and the ability to find a good musical groove.

But Peaches spends about half the songs here touting herself and her status as a lady rapper. She comes up with some good rhymes, but more often opts for the cheap phrase.

Maybe all musicians should not be judged on the emotional depth of their lyrics. Maybe the gender gap in music is so bad that just making a record is good enough, that we shouldn't hope for any fresh perspective from it. Maybe it' s enough if music is suitable for cruising Broadway and listening to it at sanity-defying volumes.

But rap music is such a great vehicle for provocative thoughts that you just yearn for substance whenever you listen to something new and can hardly help feeling let down when it isn't there.

So a performer such as MC Peaches takes her place alongside numerous other fluff acts, never aspiring for better or for worse to loftier intellectual heights.