Rocky Horror Redux

Fearless Tim Curry A & M Records

SEDUCTION ALWAYS WINS FRIENDS. Tim Curry knows this: his sinister, suggestive role as a sweet transvestite scientist in Rocky Horror Picture Show galvanized a nationwide cult. Flaunting himself provacatively, Curry struts about in garters and makeup, eyes narrowed, lips curled, singing out as the embodiment of pure lust. The fans scream hysterically, shouting at almost every phrase; they love it. Even the skeptic has to admit that the guy has something.

Not surprising then that Tim Curry vibrates with the same outrageous level of defiant sensuality on his new album, appropriately titled Fearless. His confidence pervades the lyrics, but comes out most explicitly in his lascivious, violent singing, much akin to that of Mick Jagger. Like Jagger, Curry masterfully expresses his sensual nature without the particular mention of sex, relying instead on intonation and varying emphasis.

Curry's lyrics sting with venomous satire:

I really only stepped inside to vary my routine

You see, I read about this discotheque in New York Magazine

"Hey baby, What's your sign?

Haven't we met before?"

I really must suggest

That we've achieved a rare rapport

Hit the ceiling

Unexpected hilarity and violence give the songs an extra twist. In a tune about credit cards, Curry threatens:

This pompous attitude just isn't calculated to impress

Who's easily distressed

Lady when he's through with you

He's gonna leave your face a mess

Curry's popular song "I Do the Rock" takes a swing at everyone from Einstein to Idi Amin to Linda Ronstadt, crashing down on the irrelevance of the social scene, philosophy, and anything that isn't the simple, curative rock. "It's stimulating," he coos.

He's certainly right, for his own songs, where the musical energy of composers Dick Wagner and Michael Kamen matches Curry's, forcefully backing him up and showcasing his vocals. Raw guitar melds with a heavy bass-percussion rhythm and emotional saxophone screams in cathartic outpourings...a release, so to speak. Tense pauses let Curry deliver his hypnotic soliloquies before consummating the pieces in thunderous conclusions. Unfortunately, a couple of slow, boring love ballads that spew out countless cliches by Dick Wagner made it onto the record. Curry gives them his best, but vapidity is a tough opponent. But a dramatic rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Cold Steel and Sweet Fire" redeems him.

BEFORE LOCAL SCREENINGS of Rocky Horror, Curry belts out "I Do the Rock" and his fantastic "Paradise Garage" in a positively dynamite promotion film for his album. His greatest attraction ironically is his daring narcissism: he boasts"...you know I love me madly...." This is nothing new to Mick Jagger fans. But if neither Curry nor his music can be called prototypical, he knows he has talent. And he's right.