Patti LaBelle

I'm in Love Again

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    6
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Patti Labelle had been a fixture on the scene since her 1960s group, the Bluebelles. The early 1970s found her fronting the influential and futuristic R&B-pop trio Labelle. Her solo career couldn't seem to get traction despite quiet-storm staples like "You Are My Friend" and "Little Girls." In 1981 Labelle signed with Philadelphia International. At this time, Philadelphia International's hit-making roster was down to two artists, Labelle and The O'Jays. The best songs here attain the label's classic mature and lush sound. The title track, written by Bunny Sigler and James Sigler, boasts a beautiful arrangement and emotive yet measured vocal from Labelle. The other ballads here were also on that level. The bittersweet "Love, Need and Want You" has her vamps near the fade particularly appealing. "If You Only Knew," written by Cynthia Biggs, Kenny Gamble, and Dexter Wansel has Labelle subdued through most of the track until she could no longer contain herself. But as the slow songs ranked with the best of 1980s Philadelphia International, the dance tracks are what diminished this album. The derivative "Body Language" and the frenetic "I'll Never Give Up" display that even Labelle at full throttle couldn't enliven the label's waning dance acumen. The country-tinged "Love Bankrupt" and "When Am I Gonna Find True Love" have her sounding too distracted to make more out of them. I'm in Love Again has Labelle getting strong production and good songs, but too much filler prevented this from being better.

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