Aretha Franklin

Better Day

The song "Live on Love" opens with the sound of Peter Holsapple laughing.

The song "Live on Love" opens with the sound of Peter Holsapple laughing. It's an ironic moment, considering that Better Day—the third release by this supremely talented pop-rock sextet—chronicles the hard luck and dashed hopes that have plagued the group for years. But this classic touch of Motown soul shows the Continental Drifters putting on a brave face. The brisk tempos keep rolling with the honky-tonk two-step of "Long Journey Home" and the Cajun waltz "Too Much a Fool," both of which feature Vicki Peterson (of the Bangles). The dirge-like "Cousin" and the serene lullabye "Peaceful Waking" showcase the angelic vulnerability in Susan Cowsill's voice. "Too Little, Too Late" and "(Down by the) Great Mistake" prove that Holsapple (ex-dB's) has lost none of his acid wit. Often compared to the Band for its rootsy soul, the Continental Drifters lean more toward shimmering pop with such songs as the Byrds-esque "Someday" and the power chords of "Na Na." Programmers with an ear for sharp hooks and stories from the adult side of life will find much to admire on Better Day.—SA