Sweet sounds in two flavours

Bee Gees: Paying the Price of Love (Polydor) and Jason Donovan: All Around the World (Polydor).

NOW is the time to relax on a beach, to turn on the radio and listen to the candy being served up by the record companies.

As always, there are two flavours: sugar or saccharin.

Yes, they taste almost the same, but sugar is natural and saccharin is not - and who better to illustrate the difference than the Bee Gees and Jason Donovan.

Paying the Price of Love is the first single from Size isn't Everything, a new Bee Gees album due out next month.

Despite its oversized dance beat, it still resembles vintage Bee Gees material - big on vibrato harmonies, quick to get to the chorus and happy to stay there.

Like any mid-summer confection, this song has a suitably lightweight theme: ''Paying the price of love, my heart in my hands over you.'' But it also happens to be sung exceedingly well and, more importantly, was written by the brothers Gibb.

Donovan, on the other hand, cannot sing well and most certainly cannot compose a song.

His current ditty, All Around the World, is the title track of an album to be released on Thursday.

The song was written by Nik Kershaw, the one-time pop singer who gave us the endearingly poignant Wouldn't it be Good.

And while All Around the World has a pleasant enough tune, one that suits Kershaw's voice, from the throat of Donovan it is an utter disaster.

Pop platitudes such as ''all around the world, people searching for someone, though they're dancing to a different drum, they're still dancing '' need to be delivered with subtlety. Donovan just sounds strained.

In fact, his range is so limited all the difficult work is done by the back-up singers.

But never mind, there is money to be made and the producers pull out the stops. Paying the Price of Love, the opening line of the chorus, is also the title of the song, meaning immediate identification, something record industry guys love.

And if that does not work, Donovan can always survive by looking pretty in his videos - a definite advantage over the Bees Gees.