Soundtakes. JAZZ/POP/ROCK

Pat Benatar: ``Seven the Hard Way.'' (Chrysalis Records OV 41507 [LP]; VK 41507 [CD]) -- Pat Benatar seems to want us to know that motherhood hasn't mellowed her. ``Seven the Hard Way'' is more hard-edged, even harsh, than her last LP. But while Pat belts them with accustomed gusto, many of the songs here are inferior -- more filler than showcase of her range. (And Benatar can sing everything from the most rugged to the most meltingly beautiful pop phrases.) It comes down to that most important commodity of rock music -- the hook, those catchy musical phrases that hook you into a song. The hooks here haven't the compelling power they've had on previous LP's. There is some fairly good material here, though. The first cut is ``Sex as a Weapon'' (a song the PR material quickly assures us is a criticism of exploitative advertising). It features her gutsy singing and a gritty, satisfying tune. It's joined by a couple of other good ones, including ``Walking in the Underground,'' a gentle musical portrait of lonely wanderings, and ``Run Between the Raindrops,'' a moving rocker in which Benatar's voice rings out with longing. Beyond these, however, there's a lot of sound and fury, but little substance. -- David Hugh Smith

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