Shanice

Shanice

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After a several-year hiatus, Shanice returned in 1999 with her self-titled debut for LaFace. Shanice possesses a powerful voice to be sure, and the songs on this set are pleasant enough, but one can't help but feel that this album possesses something of an assembly-line feel. Shanice's commercial breakthrough came at a time when R&B and hip-hop were heavily influenced by gangsta rap, so her sugary singles like "I Like Your Smile" and "Saving Forever for You" managed to stand out (somewhat). However, at the time of this album's release, sugary pop was the norm, so the album didn't particularly rise above the pack. It scored one hit single with "When I Close My Eyes," which straddles 'N Sync and Jessica Simpson territory, but is overall forgettable. Other notable tracks include the moody album opener, "You Need a Man," co-written by Montell Jordan, and the syrupy ballad "Yesterday." "Fly Away" and "Ain't Got No Remedy" (which finds Shanice hitting a Mariah Carey-style high note) are pleasant Babyface ballads, but sound way too manufactured to even hint at a glimpse of originality. "You Can Bounce," where Shanice sings in her lower register, is funky, but also one of a million Destiny's Child-soundalike, man-dissing tunes of the time. Shanice has a strong voice and is a talented singer, but ultimately deserves more creative songwriting and better material, because one can't help but feel that her talent is wasted on this mindless, mass-produced '90s pop-soul borderline drudge.

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