Gladys Knight & the Pips

All Our Love

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All Our Love marked the end of an era, for this 1988 release was Gladys Knight's final album with the Pips -- in 1990, she officially became a full-time solo artist and the Pips retired from music. No one can say that they didn't have a long run; Knight was only eight when the group was formed in 1952, and she was 46 when it finally broke up after 38 years. Nor can anyone say that Gladys Knight & the Pips' final album together was commercially unsuccessful -- thanks to major hits like "Love Overboard" and "Lovin' on Next to Nothin'," All Our Love went gold. In various interviews, Knight was quoted as saying that she was surprised the album did so well; she really didn't think she would ever see the top of the charts again. But then, MCA gave All Our Love a very aggressive promotional push and made sure that it was relevant to 1988s urban contemporary scene, hiring such producers as Reggie and Vincent Calloway, Nick Martinelli, and Sam Dees. Tracks like "Complete Recovery," "Thief in Paradise," and the above mentioned singles are pure urban contemporary -- synthesizers and drum machines are prominent, and no one's going to mistake All Our Love for a retro soul effort. Nonetheless, the group usually manages to be true to itself; most of the time, All Our Love sounds fairly organic rather than forced or contrived. Sometimes excellent and sometimes merely decent, the album falls short of essential. But because it was Knight's final album with the Pips, it has historic value -- and it was a pleasing, respectable way for the group to end its very long run.

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