Despite Sonic Youth's success, most college radio acts seemed to be fading. 60s holdovers either remained quiet, or put out enagaging low-key albums: Rod Argent released a pleasantly mellow disc, while Keith Richards got back to basic, funky rock and roll. Frank Zappa showed a new sense of purpose, though: his live album Broadway The Hard Way was his most intense (and most political) release in years.
On the lamer side, Police guitarist Andy Summers released a directionless, tuneless New Age mess; Salt-N-Pepa's sophomore release was rushed and silly; Tori Amos's rock band Y Kant Tori Read was justly ignored. The year also saw an abysmal synth embarrassment from Leonard Cohen and desperately unoriginal comeback efforts from R&B vets Rick James, René Moore and Evelyn "Champagne" King.
Los Van Van's re-recording of their greatest hits, Songo, was the best of a strong year in Latin music. (DBW)