Andrea Martin

The Best of Me

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Songwriter Andrea Martin's debut album comes with a long list of credentials; among them, writer of En Vogue's "Don't Let Go (Love)," Monica's "Before You Walk Out of My Life" and SWV's "You're the One." The same smooth, deft flow that took those songs to the Top Ten is applied to The Best of Me, wrapping classic, silky R&B grooves around contemporary, fleeting hip-hop rhythms. Martin isn't quite the singer most of her clients are (she has a commanding husk that recalls prime singers from the early-'70s R&B era, particularly Gladys Knight at times), but the diva-less subtlety that she brings to the material can be quite charming. And the ol' skool vibe that runs throughout (especially on the sultry remix of the title tune, which gets a little assistance from co-traditionalist Lauryn Hill) is deeply rooted in the retro soul that obviously served as this album's chief influence.

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