STING ``... Nothing Like the Sun'' (A&M SP 6402) - Ex-Police-man Sting shows his versatility and good taste in this double-record set, consisting mostly of original tunes. Although the album focuses on ballads (gorgeous stuff, especially ``Sister Moon,'' which rivals Gershwin's ``Summertime'' for sheer mood), there are some fine up-tempo numbers, too, and sensitive arrangements (also by Sting).
YELLO ``One Second'' (Mercury 832 675-1 Q-1) - Creative and innovative electro-dance music from the prolific Swiss duo. (This is their fifth album.) Yello's music could be called ``art-dance.'' Here it incorporates Latin rhythms, Middle Eastern melodies, the spoken word, and sophisticated vocals (including one by Shirley Bassey) without ever losing its driving, percussive dance groove.
VARIOUS NEW AGE ARTISTS ``MCA Masters Series Fall Sampler '87'' (MCA-42064) - Selections from the new albums of MCA's top new-age artists show a pleasing variety of styles, and more substance than is often associated with the genre. Included are guitarists Larry Carlton, Albert Lee, and Billy Joe Walker, dobro player Jerry Douglas, and the duo Michael Utley and Robert Greenidge (steel drums and keyboards).
HEAVY D. AND THE BOYZ ``Living Large'' (MCA-5986) - Mount Vernon, N.Y., rappers mix it up with R&B, slick synthesizer backups and sung vocal backgrounds - as they join the trend of rap finding its way into the broader spectrum of pop/soul/funk music. Nice remake of ``Mr. Big Stuff,'' and they even do a ``rap ballad'' called ``Don't You Know.'' Some sexual innuendo, but mostly lightweight fun.
ALICE COOPER ``Raise Your Fist and Yell'' (MCA-42091) - More classic heavy metal from the original shock rocker. Musically the vocals are powerful, the guitar and bass melodies ingenious, and the guitar solos by Kane Roberts gutsy. Cooper, rebellious as ever, uses a couple of the songs as a kind of bad-boy attack on rock-and-roll censorship. The lyrics, printed on the outside of the jacket, are more of the same campy but dark and murderous metal clich'es.
BELLAMY BROTHERS ``Crazy From the Heart'' (MCA-42039) - Pop backgrounds underpin country vocals from the Bellamys. This pleasant set dishes up a few love songs and some social issues (they turn their back on faddish sexual mores with ``We Don't Wanna Go for It''), and a generous helping of gentle humor. Charlie Daniels sits in on ``Ramblin' Again.''
GARY PEACOCK ``Guamba'' (ECM 833039-1) - This album is indisputably a gem. Peacock, perhaps the most intuitive of jazz bassists, shows a sensitivity to sound in space, a deft balance between delicacy and passion, sometimes reminiscent of Ornette Coleman's first quartet. He's joined by trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, saxophonist Jan Garbarek, and drummer Peter Erskine.