By the time they assembled the soundtrack for the film adaptation of Terry McMillan's acclaimed novel How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis were no longer the hippest names in urban soul, but they hadn't lost their groove. They still knew what worked and what didn't within the context of urban R&B, they could still write strong songs, and they had a keen eye for talent. All of which is a complicated way of saying that How Stella Got Her Groove Back is an exceptional soundtrack -- a well-constructed, consistently entertaining collection that manages to be cohesive despite its eclecticism. Or maybe, it's successful because of its diversity -- it's great to hear the music slyly shift from updated Soul II Soul grooves to reggae to hip-hop to urban ballads. Everything is tied together by a classy, stylish attitude and sultry production that makes even the weaker songs sound alluring. Boasting highlights from Stevie Wonder & Wyclef Jean, Shaggy & Janet, Mary J. Blige, Big Punisher & Beenie Man, Me'Shell NdegeOcello, Maxi Priest and K-Ci & JoJo, How Stella Got Her Groove Back comes close to matching the dazzling heights of Waiting to Exhale and Soul Food, and that's good company indeed.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine