Back to the Egg (Columbia).
Well, maybe this is the flabby superstar rock everyone says it is. At least, it's egocentric and self-satisfied. But at a moment when the awful, fake Knack tops the charts with a fairly inept Beatles impersonation, this smacks of the real thing. Besides, how can any Who fan dislike a record on which Pete Townshend plays this much guitar -- "Rock-estra Theme" might even have livened up "Who Are You!" THE B-52S.
The B-52s (Warner Bros;);
No wave aficionados claim that this is dance music, to which I reply: "Eyewash." "Rock Lobster," the track that occasionally plagues what's left of adventurous FM radio, is clumsy and it's the catchiest thing here. Send these guts back to college, or wherever it is such pretenious little monsters arrive from -- and gimme some funk, all right? Fraud of the year. HOT CHOCOLATE
Going Through the Motions (Infinity).
That self-deprecating title is more accurate than it needs to be. There's nothing as healthy and infectious as the group's best U.S. pop hit, "I Believe in Miracles," here. On the other hand, Hot Chocolate are oldhands at rock and soul fusion music, and when they call a song "Mindless Boogie" they at least deserve the genuine item. Which is to say that real boogie is not so easy to come by at any time, especially times like these. ELLEN FOLEY
Foley was Meatloaf's female counterpart on "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," and like Meat, Ellen is enamored of theatrical phrasing and a rather corny appropriation of rock cliches, some of them astonishingly wrongheaded: "Stupid Girl" is insultingly sexist no matter the gender of the singer. What saves her is the authority of her producers, Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson, who layer the sound after the fashion of "Born to Run" (and do it a lot more effectively than Todd Rundgren did for Mr. Loaf). They also ply her with Ronson's own skilled fuitar playing a batch of good songs, including a pair by the neglected Phillip Rambow and a semi-original, "We Belong to the Night," which is this year's "Because the Night" in the matter of potential pop hits. Loosened up, Foley could be a sensation, although she ought to refrain from songs as forced and mannered as "Thunder and Rain," where she can't hope to mangage Graham Parker. EDGAR WINTER
The Edgar Winter Album (Blue Sky).
Disappointing by any standard. Winter has lost direction with his rock ideas, his soul-based ones have never jelled and this album flounders, despite (or maybe because of) production by disco maestro Tom Moulton. NIGHT
Richard Perry is a great pop producer, who can do more than anyone would have expected with talents as diverse as Fats Domino, Barbra Streisand and the Pointer Sisters. But he knows nothing about rock; "Night" is perhaps the most inept rock record I've ever heard from a major producer. To think that Nicky Hopkins, every Anglophile's keyboard hero, has sunk to this! EARTH WIND & FIRE
I Am (Columbia).
That this album is exciting for the first few listenings, and never less than admirable afterwards, shouldn't be surprising: EWF leader Maurice White has already established himself as one of the major voices of black pop in the '70. But that the record isn't any better, or deeper, is a disappointment. Despite its vague religious philosophizing, the center of "I Am" is really bloated L. A. pop hackwork like "After the Love Is Gone," a safe, comfortable hit, but hardly the adventurous stuff the group's fans used to expect. White has it in him to make great music: Whether he's willing to sacrifice his potential to stale commercial formulas is up to him. TEDDY PENDERGRASS
Teddy (Philadelphia International).
Like Earth Wind & Fire, Pendergrass is locked into a formula only his is the property of his producers, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. Unfortunately, in recent years, Teddy's been doing better by Gamble and Huff then they have by him. Pendergrass is willing to commit himself to any kind of powerpuff love song, and over and over here he redeems the banality of songs like "Set Me Free," "Life Is a Circle" and "Come Go With Me" with sheer emotional intensity. Given a solid composition like "I'll Never See Heaven Again," he simply soars. But the soaring, and such songs, don't come often enough to really challenge Pendergrass, who is by now the potential Marvin Gaye of the '80s. Maybe it's time to change producers - or at least broaden his repertoire. RAMONES
It's Alive (Sire -- British import).
This is the perfect Ramones' greatest-hits anthology, if there's anyone who likes this band without being fanatic enough to have all the albums. On the other hand, it reveals the conceptual weakness of the 90-second, breakneck-pace rock song: 28 of them strung together gets a little tedious, even for fans. But the performances, when they're right ("Teenage Lobotomy," "Cretin Hop," "Pinhead," "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue"), take me back to the prepunk heyday of Iggy and the Stooges for sheer power, audacity and cheap thrills. ABBA
A bloated and pretentious departure from the Swedish quartet's formerly light and airy pop harmonizing. Abba's best songs soar, almost all of these merely plod. CAROLYNE MAS
Carolyne Mas (Mercury).
A formidable composer, and one of the most brightly energetic performers to hit New York recently, Mas is much more erratic on her debut album. "Stillsane," "Sadie Says" and "Quote Goodbye Quote" are first-rate dramatic rockers, excellently performed; the material is somewhat listless, despite an excellent backup band. As a debut album, this is more than fine, however; Mas, Ellen Shipley and a few others are beginning to develop -- distinctively female brand of rock 'n' roll that owes less to Linda Ronstadt and country-folk music than anything that's preceded them. Whether that's a trend or just natural artistic progression, this is a record to hear.