Jody Watley

Affection

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If any one 1980s superstar suffered an undeserved fall from grace it was Jody Watley, who, at one point in time, rivaled only Madonna in popularity. As the 1990s took shape, her popularity took a drastic downward turn, to the point where, by 1995, she had to release her fifth solo album, Affection, on her own label. The album came and went quickly, without scoring any hit singles. In retrospect, however, it stands the test of time pretty well, although it does lack the urgency and immediacy of her dance-era hits. Affection is an engaging collection of slow burning, mid-tempo, jazzy R&B, quite different from the music that had made her a star. "(We Gotta Be) Together," the summery "All Night Love Affair," "Pride and Joy," "The Beat Don't Stop" (which she sings in her lower register, similar to 1987's "Still a Thrill"), and the title track all fall under the aforementioned musical categories. The real gem, however, is "The Way (Pts. 1 & 2)," which is a smoldering, seductive, ten-minute jam, as good as any of her golden age output. A couple tracks, such as "Faithful" and "Stay," fall quite flat, but, overall, this is a fine, quality album, entirely undeserving of the fate it received. Additionally, there is a live jazzed up version of her classic "Lookin' for a New Love" that closes out the set.

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