O'Chi Brown

Light the Night

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Brown made a significant departure here from the dance-pop sounds crafted on her first set. While O'chi had been largely produced and overseen by the Stock, Aitken & Waterman camp, Light the Night was more varied in both its producers and repertoire. Half of the set is comprised of 1960s soul covers, among them Bettye Swann's "Make Me Yours," Honey Cone's "While You're out Looking for Sugar," and Barbara Randolph's "I Got a Feeling." Although Brown may not be a particularly powerful or wide-ranging vocalist, her poise and subtlety make each of these efforts enjoyable. She's also to be commended for not going with the obvious songs from the era. The downside is the somewhat cheesy production, which relies too heavily on programming. However, three of the original selections in particular are thoroughly fulfilling in their arrangements. The melancholy ballad "Beginning to See the Light"; the jazzy groover "It Ain't Been Easy"; and the light pop-funk of "Goodbye" each blend polished yet emotive instrumental structure with rich, convincing deliveries from the singer. The understated, romantic appeal of these tracks is a nice contrast to the cheery, upbeat stylings of the remakes. It's this diversity that saves Light the Night from a few production weaknesses, and makes it an enjoyable effort. The Japanese CD release includes three bonus tracks.

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