R&B has never been more prevalent throughout the nation and the ladies of the genre never more in demand. Beyoncé, Blu Cantrell, Monica, Ashanti and a handful of others all enjoying unprecedented success. They look great, sound even better and, with the right weather, they're the perfect accompaniment to summer.
Mya's Moodring is the latest addition to the soundtrack, and certainly the Washington songstress', most complete and accessible yet. Although, with a brace of million-sellers already to her name, she's not taking any chances, enlisting a who's who of production and guest support that include Timbaland, Jam & Lewis, Sean Paul and Missy Elliott.
"My Love Is Like Wo" opens proceedings, and is scheduled as the first single. Smackin' like a female Busta Rhymes, this slick 'n' sassy dancer, produced by Missy Elliott, looks primed for a serious chart assault. From then on it's more of the same with a handful of potential single contenders, summer jams and seductive interludes. Highlights include the 70s soul vibe of "After The Rain" (complete with Lamont Dozier sampled strings), and "Fallen" where Mya flutters to tingly heights and then drops to sultry whispers in the space of a few bars.
At times she sounds not unlike a raunchier Janet Jackson, particularly on the bumping booty call funker "Sophisticated Lady" which borrows heavily from Rick James' "Cold Blooded". While the heartfelt "You", and "Anatomy 10N1" show the singer at her sultry best; the latter produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis that sounds like an update of their JJ ballad "Lets Wait A While".
No R&B release these days would be complete without an appearance from the ubiquitous Sean Paul, and the ragamuffin adds his trademark delivery to "Things Come & Go". He's an acquired taste, and personally, one I could live without. Conversely Lloyd Banks' vocal interplay on the slow and grinding "Why You Gotta Look So Good" is one of the set's high points.
Having made the transition into pop circles following her billing alongside Pink, Christina Aguilera and Lil' Kim, on the smash "Lady Marmalade", Mya's set to further remind listeners of her ability to shrewdly bridge the gap between pop/R&B and street-level hip hop. --Lewis Dene
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window