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Performer Notes
  • Like Seven, released four years earlier, Lisa Stansfield's eighth album bounces from style to style with the singer's deeply impassioned, life-embracing approach a constant feature. Sophisticated pop, Motown/Philadelphia International-styled retro-soul, a few flavors of house, and even muted go-go and elegant drum'n'bass factor into the material. Most unforeseen is "Hercules," not an update of the Allen Toussaint classic but a fiery hero's theme that incorporates the Bo Diddley beat, a triumphant horn arrangement from master Jerry Hey, and the main riff from John Carpenter's "Assault on Precinct 13." A few cuts rate with Stansfield's best. The title song sounds like it was designed to fit with smooth early-'80s R&B grooves like the Mary Jane Girls' "All Night Long" and Keni Burke's "Risin' to the Top." One of the more contemporary numbers, "Billionaire" -- among several songs co-written with career-long partner Ian Devaney -- is a confrontational belter delivered with the high levels of flair and agility displayed on Stansfield's biggest hits. The Family Stand's "Ghetto Heaven" gets a decelerated interpretation, outfitted with a different breakbeat, a reference to Common's "Geto Heaven, Pt. 2," and Stansfield measuredly coursing from verse to chorus to verse like she has blissfully lost herself in the song. This is the singer's most enjoyable album since her self-titled 1997 work. ~ Andy Kellman
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