Donna Summer sounds younger here than on her previous studio album, 1991's Mistaken Identity, or just about any of the isolated tracks that surfaced throughout the previous 17 years, which is a good thing as frequently as it is a bad thing. Crayons benefits from Summer's effortless energy; she was clearly into making this album, and her voice is as able and flexible as ever. However, almost all of the material with which she has to work -- several stylistic angles are taken with the likes of Danielle Brisebois (Natasha Bedingfield, Kelly Clarkson) Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Nelly Furtado), J.R. Rotem (Leona Lewis, Trey Songz), and several others -- would make more sense on an album by a female teen pop group from the U.K. or, in some cases, a young adult catering to the coffeehouse market. One exception, if only from a lyrical standpoint, is "The Queen Is Back," where Summer refers to herself in the third person, as well as her past: "So many years ago on the radio/She crept into your soul and learned to love you." But it's really the type of move you'd expect from an aspiring diva on her second or third album. In-fashion vocal effects, which Summer certainly does not need, detract from a handful of these tracks, but as a whole, the album won't have trouble pleasing fans who just want to hear their queen have a blast and tear it up.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
feat: Ziggy Marley