Stephanie Mills

Love Has Lifted Me

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Motown attempted to capitalize on some of Mills' late-'70s/early-'80s success for 20th Century Fox with this eight-song set of unreleased vault material. After Mills released For the First Time on Motown in 1975, she recorded a second album for the label that never saw release. Lifting seven songs from that session, as well as "This Empty Place" from For the First Time, the resulting Love Has Lifted Me is a mixed and scattered assortment of generally undirected neo-soul-pop. Compositions by Mike & Brenda Sutton, who recorded in their own right on Sam and Fantasy, boost positive lyrical messages but falter with melodies that don't do them justice. "Simple Masterpiece" actually is cute for its novelty value with Mills doing what seems to be an odd impersonation of Josephine Baker and 1920s blues divas. Equally curious is the Michael L. Smith-penned "I Hope We Don't Run out of Music" with its childlike lyrics and carnival-esque melodies. This collection will be of interest to the Mills completist, especially for its obscurity, but definitely isn't among her strongest work.

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