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(UK Expansion, 2004)
For You - Healing Time - Love Of My Life - Can't Let Him Go - Never Knew Love Like This - Free - You Still Mean So Much - Something In The Way - Baby Love - Born For This

Stephanie Mills is one of my favourite artists and I was so pleased to hear of this album being released back in the summer. Unfortunately I was very deflated after hearing this album, and so I set to play it again and again to get a greater feel. It has warmed to me a little bit but I still cannot find anything that distinguishes it as anything other than simply "alright" or "OK". This album, I have to say has sat unplayed since my initial hearings, and I call these sorts of albums FAFs - File and forget.
I expected a lot more from this and was rather petered at what is essentially a Kelly Price album, albeit sung better and more competently. The better songs on here are the more beatier R&B numbers, and as the set continues my attention diminishes accordingly. The opening cut has to be the best on the set, and although this fares well in comparison with the juvenile R&B sewage that is polluting the charts at the moment, it is NOT Stephanie at her best, or her half best. Vocally she shines, as we would expect, but musically it is simply humdrum and uninspiring.
Bar "For You", I am drawn towards the more textured "Love Of My Life" which is rather nice. What I did not expect was the pointless remake of her 1989 smash, "Something In The Way He Makes Me Feel", which has nothing of the charisma or gravitas of the original recording. I still play the original song today and get immense pleasure from it. With a heavy heart I have to say that not one track has had an airing months after adding it to the collection, and it certainly will not be a cherished set to pull out in the future. We live in an era where blandness and mediocrity is accepted as the norm and I suppose in that spirit then this is a competant, safe and radio friendly set that will appeal to those who buy JS, Kelly Price, Mis-Tique and all the rest.
I am surprised Expansion picked this up when there are far superior albums out there begging for UK release - Ty Causey springs to mind for a start. This is purely for die-hard fans, and if I were you I would be inclined to plumb for Expansion's excellent "Love Is To Listen" compilation which DOES feature memorable songs with charisma and longevity.
- Barry Towler

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