The Essence of Melissa Manchester is a comprehensive overview of her decade's worth of recordings for Arista. During her stint at the label, she was at the peak of her popularity, racking up a string of adult contemporary hits including "Midnight Blue," "Just Too Many People," "Just You and I," "Don't Cry Out Loud," "Pretty Girls," the Peabo Bryson duet "Lovers After All," and "You Should Hear How She Talks About You." All of those hits, plus several lesser-known gems like "Whenever I Call You Friend," are included on this terrific compilation, which is a definitive retrospective of her finest recordings.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine