After a four-year industry sabbatical, singer/songwriter/guitarist Meredith Brooks jumps back into the fire with the high-octane Bad Bad One, her bow for Gold Circle.

After a four-year industry sabbatical, singer/songwriter/guitarist Meredith Brooks jumps back into the fire with the high-octane Bad Bad One, her bow for Gold Circle. Packed solid with sass and a dozen kick-ass songs, the set showcases Brooks ably blending straight-ahead, plugged-in rock with enough contemporary elements to show that she's kept an ear tuned into current pop culture, including some intriguing brass effects, drum loops, and vocal layering. The baddest (as in good) of the Bad are those cuts where Brooks lets her hair fly loose: first single "Shine" and "You Don't Know Me," as well as the hopeful, melodic "Where Lovers Meet." Our heroine co-wrote all songs and co-produced the album, showing her savvy on all fronts. A welcome return that shows the new kids out there a thing or two.—CT