BeBe Winans - Dream (2005)

BeBe Winans
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Let me start by saying that there is nothing technically wrong with Dream.  As usual, BeBe Winans has written a number of melodic tunes and his voice is always clear and attractive.  But, somehow, as in his last couple of solo albums, Dream ends up being less than the sum of its parts.  While he's justifiably long been considered a good songwriter, Winans' songs began to sound formulaic by the time he and CeCe released Different Lifestyles over a decade ago.  And without CeCe's crisp voice and wonderful phrasing to bring them to life, BeBe's music during his solo career has simply not been as engaging.  Dream continues this trend, with an overabundance of meandering soft ballads spotlighting Winans' whispered vocals over slight piano and guitar backings.  It is all depressingly tame and one-dimensional, and consequently many of the songs run together without making much of an impression. 

Let me start by saying that there is nothing technically wrong with Dream.  As usual, BeBe Winans has written a number of melodic tunes and his voice is always clear and attractive.  But, somehow, as in his last couple of solo albums, Dream ends up being less than the sum of its parts.  While he's justifiably long been considered a good songwriter, Winans' songs began to sound formulaic by the time he and CeCe released Different Lifestyles over a decade ago.  And without CeCe's crisp voice and wonderful phrasing to bring them to life, BeBe's music during his solo career has simply not been as engaging.  Dream continues this trend, with an overabundance of meandering soft ballads spotlighting Winans' whispered vocals over slight piano and guitar backings.  It is all depressingly tame and one-dimensional, and consequently many of the songs run together without making much of an impression. 

That's not to say that there are no highlights on Dream.  Lyrically, the disc is probably Winans' most interesting.  Musically, he does a fine job covering Amy Grant's touching ballad "So Glad" and Angie Stone helps rescue the soft call-and-response  "Miracle of Life."  Winans even briefly picks up the pace a bit on the nice "Have You Ever Had."  Best of all is his seven-minute musical interpretation of Martin Luther King's seminal "I Have A Dream" speech.  Winans appears his most energized during this cut, and the message...well, let's just say he had a good lyricist. 

All in all, Dream is a decent, by-the-book urban adult contemporary disc with a positive, spiritual message.  However, it is tasteful and muted to the point of lacking distinction, and ends up with the character of "background" music -- doing neither Winans nor his significant talent justice.

CR

 

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