'Til Tuesday, Everything's Different Now (Epic OE-44041). Singer Aimee Mann's heartbreak album, aftermath of a breakup with rock singer Jules Shear, is such a beauty that some are calling it the heartbreak album of the year. Her languid, regretful vocals have never been applied with such poignancy. Nor has her writing. Truly heartfelt are the title track, "'J' for Jules" and "The Other End (of the Telescope)," co-written with Elvis Costello. Northern Pikes, Secrets of the Alibi (Virgin 90974-1 Atlantic). Second album from this Canadian quartet is just as bright, outspoken and catchy as the first one, shining especially on the lowdown scene of "Place That's Insane" and the provocative propositions of the idealistic "Let's Pretend." One listen and you'll want to kick yourself for missing their free WPHD-FM-sponsored show this week at Desiderio's (or the other one last spring in the Tralfamadore). These guys won't be a secret much longer. -- D. A.
Joe Ely, Dig All Night (Hightone HT-8015). A Texas rocker with roots in blues and country, Ely's become a mentor (and sometimes a producer) for all sorts of young talent from the Lone Star State. For those who can't get into the studio with him, his albums are essential lessons in how to put a powerpack on every lyric and guitar riff, be they roaring for romance like "Settle For Love" or smoldering with passion like "Behind the Bamboo Shade." -- D. A.
Chris De Burgh, Flying Colours (A&M SP-5224). The British singer-songwriter tries 12 times, but doesn't connect for another utterly wonderful declaration of love to match "Lady in Red," which made his last album an international smash. This is still high-quality romance, compared to most of the stuff that clogs adult contemporary radio, but oddly enough his best effort is something quite the opposite -- the quirky "A Night on the River," in which an amorous adventure misfires. -- D. A.