After a couple of records and a popular talk show met its end, Donny Osmond was definitely on the comeback trail. Or as much of a comeback trail as '70s teen idols can travel. 2001's This Is the Moment was a collection of show tunes which won over fans and critics alike. It was followed shortly thereafter by 2002's Somewhere in Time; a collection of contemporary soft rock standards. Fast-forward two years to find Osmond still in fine form on What I Meant to Say; his first full-length album with original new material in over a decade. Granted there are still cover tunes here (Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting" and the Burt Bacharach standard "This Guy's in Love with You" get the Osmond work over), but what is truly surprising is the quality of original compositions penned and produced by Osmond and friends. What I Meant to Say takes Osmond down roads filled with soft rock ballads and slow jams obviously inspired by quiet storm, R&B, and smooth jazz, and more often than not the results complement Osmond's voice quite well. The mere exception to the rule would be the Backstreet Boys' clone "Shoulda' Known Better," which unfortunately finds Osmond desperately attempting to write a pop tune four years past its "sell by" date; it's insulting to the smooth delivery and mature presentation of the rest of the album. Fans of Donny, of course, will purchase this and revel in its glory and rightfully so. It's another victory in a career filled with them. And with that timeless boyish charm and star-charting smile, it proves once again that you can knock an Osmond down, but never, ever count them out.
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AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston