The Whispers

Greatest Hits [Capitol]

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By the time this was released in 1997, the Whispers had a few compilation albums on the market, but this was better. Greatest Hits covers the group's stint on Dick Griffey's Solar Records during the years 1974-1992 in a coherent fashion. Although this misses the classic "What More Can a Girl Ask For," Greatest Hits makes up for it by including both "Living Together in Sin" and "(Olivia) Lost and Turned Out." The heart of Greatest Hits is the Whispers' 1979-1987 work with Solar. The first big hit, "And The Beat Goes On," written and produced by Leon Sylvers, was a perfect song to bridge the gap between disco and the synthesizer R&B of the coming decade. That style is apparent on the best tracks of Greatest Hits. Other Sylvers-produced tracks, "It's a Love Thing," "In the Raw," and the perfect "Keep on Lovin' Me," more than retain their punch and danceable appeal. Later tracks "Contagious" and "Tonight" suffer from synth overload. Unlike many greatest-hits sets, this has the group gaining momentum near the end of the effort. The innovative "Rock Steady," produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface, gave the group its biggest hit. By the late '80s, the Whispers eased into a more pronounced balladic approach. Gary Taylor's melodic "My Heart Your Heart" and smooth "Is It Good to You" boast the smooth production values of the group's trademark romantic early-'90s sound. Despite a few omissions, Greatest Hits more than works as a substantial overview.

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