This 1989 release marked the return of lead singer Ali "Ollie" Woodson after the third departure of Dennis Edwards. In many respects, Special is a business-as-usual, mid- to late-'80s Temptations release. But, of course, that's not a bad thing. With the raspy-voiced Woodson, the group had a more cohesive sound and polish. Special, in fact, attempts to connect the dots between light new jack swing and soulful L.A. pop with mixed though fun results. After the initial shock, if not horror, of hearing Melvin Franklin shout, "Let's kick it," "Friends," "All I Want From You," and "She's Better Than Money" are good but hardly influential. Not surprisingly, this edition of the group was truly adept with romantic ballads and L.A. pop this close to corny. The melodic and fun "Loveline" and the poignant "Soul to Soul" clearly display their three-dimensional harmony, and Woodson is in great form. The CD release also featured "OAO Lover." With most of the new jack swing innocuous and the synth production suitably smoothed-out, fans will be more than satisfied with Special.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Elias