Vanessa Williams - The Real Thing (2009)

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    You know your music is in trouble when Barry Manilow has more flavor. Please pass this memo to the producers of Vanessa Williams' latest sleeper:  mature music need not be dead or colorless to appeal to people over 30 or those eligible for Social Security, for that matter. Smooth jazz, toothless soul pop, and bland big band material that is adequate to a fault. Even a duet with Javier Colon on his one-time gem, "October Sky," gets a chilly reception under Ms. Williams' restrained treatment. Vocally the Ugly Betty star stays true to her reported mantra of "less is more," an alleged response to reports of the accommodating trims made to the Broadway show Kiss of the Spiderwoman after V took over for the show's then 60 year old star, Chita Rivera. Turns out Williams liked her comfort zone then, and listening to this "Lazy Afternoon" it's safe to say some things haven't changed.  Notable Songs: "The Real Thing" and "Breathless."

    You know your music is in trouble when Barry Manilow has more flavor. Please pass this memo to the producers of Vanessa Williams' latest sleeper:  mature music need not be dead or colorless to appeal to people over 30 or those eligible for Social Security, for that matter. Smooth jazz, toothless soul pop, and bland big band material that is adequate to a fault. Even a duet with Javier Colon on his one-time gem, "October Sky," gets a chilly reception under Ms. Williams' restrained treatment. Vocally the Ugly Betty star stays true to her reported mantra of "less is more," an alleged response to reports of the accommodating trims made to the Broadway show Kiss of the Spiderwoman after V took over for the show's then 60 year old star, Chita Rivera. Turns out Williams liked her comfort zone then, and listening to this "Lazy Afternoon" it's safe to say some things haven't changed.  Notable Songs: "The Real Thing" and "Breathless."

    Vocals: 2 stars
    Lyrics: 2 stars  
    Music: 2 stars  
    Production: 2 stars  
    SoulTracks Call: Not Recommended

    By L. Michael Gipson

     
    Choice Cut - Jennifer Hartswick - "For You"