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By Jim DeRogatis, Chicago Sun-Times, September 20, 1998

Various artists, "I WANNA BE KATE: The Songs of Kate Bush" (Brown Star Records) 3 Stars

Various artists, "For the Masses" (1500 Records) 1 & 1/2 Stars

These two tribute albums illustrate how the genre succeeds and fails. The Kate Bush disc is the better of the two because the artists not only capture Bush's majestic and melodramatic sounds but her sense of humor. In contrast, the second disc, a tribute to Depeche Mode, takes it all way too seriously.

Among the highlights of "I WANNA BE KATE" are several songs by Chicago musicians. Susan Voelz of Poi Dog Pondering tackles "The Sensual World," the always effervescent Syd Straw performs "The Man With The Child In His Eyes" and the ork-pop/lounge-exotica buzz band the Aluminum Group delivers "L'Amour Looks Something Like You." None of these cuts will make you a convert, but if you're already a Bush fan, you won't be disappointed.

"For the Masses" takes advantage of a bigger budget to round up a bunch of predictable electronica-tinged big shots (Smashing Pumpkins, the Cure, Gus Gus), plus a few guitar-driven ringers (Veruca Salt, Monster Magnet). Most of these bands plod like dinosaurs through Depeche Mode's lazy lugubrious tunes. If any of them are particularly inspired by Depeche Mode, they don't let it show.

- Jim DeRogatis

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