Vanessa Williams - Everlasting Love (2005)

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    Despite the feeling following her first single, "The Right Stuff," that she was a promising young R&B/dance vocalist, Vanessa Williams has spent the majority of her singing career as an adult contemporary star, more comfortably positioned alongside the likes of Celine Dion than Chaka Khan.  And after an eight year absence (save last year's holiday album Silver and Gold), Williams again aims straight toward her light pop/soul audience with Everlasting Love.  Designed by Williams to allow her to sing some of her personal favorite love songs of the 70s, the disc is an innocuous, nostalgic breeze through an exceptional selection of well known numbers.  Williams' voice is as it always seems to be on record: not particularly powerful, but always tonally pretty.  The real stars, however, are the songs, including wonderful but rarely covered compositions such as Jerry Fuller's "Show and Tell" (popularized by Al Wilson), the Isley Brothers' "Harvest For the World," Burt

    Despite the feeling following her first single, "The Right Stuff," that she was a promising young R&B/dance vocalist, Vanessa Williams has spent the majority of her singing career as an adult contemporary star, more comfortably positioned alongside the likes of Celine Dion than Chaka Khan.  And after an eight year absence (save last year's holiday album Silver and Gold), Williams again aims straight toward her light pop/soul audience with Everlasting Love.  Designed by Williams to allow her to sing some of her personal favorite love songs of the 70s, the disc is an innocuous, nostalgic breeze through an exceptional selection of well known numbers.  Williams' voice is as it always seems to be on record: not particularly powerful, but always tonally pretty.  The real stars, however, are the songs, including wonderful but rarely covered compositions such as Jerry Fuller's "Show and Tell" (popularized by Al Wilson), the Isley Brothers' "Harvest For the World," Burt Bacharach's "One Less Bell to Answer" (a past hit for the Fifth Dimension) and Stevie Wonder's "Send One Your Love."  She also adds one original track, producer Rob Mathes' "Today and Everyday," a light wedding song that fits well with the remainder of the disc.

    While none of the covers on Everlasting Love match the original versions, the disc is a pleasant nostalgia trip for older listeners and is a nice introduction to a series of wonderful songs for younger listeners who may be hearing some of these compositions for the first time.

    By Chris Rizik

     
    Choice Cut - Jennifer Hartswick - "For You"