Take a Good Look

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Like Taylor Dayne, singer Alyson sprinkles her dance-pop repertoire with some uplifting house tunes, some sultry ballads, and those empowering, post-breakup, "you can do it girl" numbers. Where she separates herself from Dayne and her ilk is in the diva department. Alyson trades the usual brassy and huge delivery divas thrive on for genre-hopping. Take a Good Look hops from Ralphi Rosario-helmed deep house to jazzy, downtown ballads and then on to bright, funky tracks that recall Janet Jackson at her breeziest. She hasn't forgotten the tight punch of new jack swing, either, but if it sounds like Alyson could drown in all these influences, it only takes a couple tracks to realize that it's her songwriting that keeps her afloat. Heartfelt breakup numbers and starting-over anthems are her bread and butter, but "Feel You" proves she can do sexy while "Forever" is as sweet and comfortable as they come. With its quirky, loopy reggae beat, "Forever" is the big surprise, but the straight-ahead club numbers are what hit you first. They're feel-good from the get go, but it's Alyson's risk-taking attitude and genuine love of music -- no matter what the genre -- that fleshes out this satisfying album.

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