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TONI BASIL (Buy CDs by this artist)
Word of Mouth (Chrysalis) 1981
Toni Basil (Chrysalis) 1983

Sometime around 1980, choreographer/video director/actress (she had a role in Easy Rider!) Basil skipped America for England, where she briefly became a glamourpuss pop star with the Chinn/Chapman-penned "Mickey," a simpleminded bit of new wave bubblegum that was an enormous hit in the States a year later. Unfortunately, the rest of her first album is disjointed, touching on more synth-dance rock and Pat Benatar-level mundanity, plus a trio of Devo songs on which Ms. B. is backed by the Akronites themselves. (The American release has two track substitutions and different artwork.) Basil is clever, likable and sings well enough, but the album has a disconcerting lack of cohesion and believability.

Except for the hyperactive "Over My Head," Basil's follow-up is a drag, filled with banal, clichéd rock and none of the inspired lunacy or even personality that made Word of Mouth spottily diverting.

[Ira Robbins]