As if 2003 wasn't already a banner year for Beyoncé with the massive success of her solo debut Dangerously in Love, her starring roles in The Fighting Temptations and its soundtrack cement it as such. A mix of hip-hop, urban, and gospel, the album also features such luminaries as Missy Elliott, Shirley Caesar, Faith Evans, P. Diddy, and, interestingly enough, Destiny's Child, whose pretty but downbeat "I Know" seems to be on the soundtrack to reassure fans that Beyoncé's thriving solo career doesn't mean the end of the group. Nevertheless, the seven tracks that feature Beyoncé on her own or with other collaborators are more striking: in particular, the movie's title track, a surprisingly fun and funky celebration of ladies' night out and waiting for true love with Missy, MC Lyte, and Free, and "Everything I Do," a silky-smooth duet with Bilal. "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" gives her a chance to return to her gospel roots and show off that side of her voice, as do her gospel collaborations, "He Still Loves Me" with Walter Williams of the O'Jays and "Time to Come Home" with Angie Stone and Melba Moore. Indeed, the gospel songs -- which form the heart and soul of the movie as well as this album -- are arguably the best moments on this soundtrack, from the more contemporary sounds of Angie Stone and Eddie Levert's "Rain Down" to the traditional gospel of Ann Nesby's "I'm Getting Ready" and her collaboration with Shirley Caesar, "The Stone." Faith Evans' "Heaven Knows" manages to blend gospel and disco into a striking centerpiece for the album, rivaling Beyoncé's contributions in terms of sheer charisma. Even though Fighting Temptations is a slightly scattered album, it's an enjoyable soundtrack that manages to transcend being merely another vehicle for Beyoncé's music.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares