LOU REED AND JOHN CALE: SONGS FOR DRELLA (Warner Bros.). Part biography of Andy Warhol, part autobiography of Reed and Cale (who were members of the Warhol-corralled Velvet Underground), part song cycle, with a little art criticism on the side. Far from hagiography and close to greatness.
RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: BEAUTY (Virgin). "Does a rose lose its color in the rain?" Well, maybe the lyrics lose in the translation. The music, by a Japanese master of melodic anagrams, comes through with finesse and eerie command. Guest appearances by Brian Wilson and Robbie Robertson, among others, contribute to the congenial oddness.