Howard Hewett

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Allegiance Review

by Jason Elias

This is the follow-up to his 1990 hit Howard Hewett. For this, Hewett split the production duties between Tommy LiPluma, Narada Michael Walden, Barry Mann, Nick Martinelli, and himself. One would think that he would get lost in this, but the opposite becomes true. While on the surface this seems like a by-the-numbers effort, with its unearthly momentum, Allegiance is an oddly fascinating record. Hewett is a little intense to pull off the insouciant loverman act as "Save Your Sex for Me" and the Prince-penned "Allegiance" proves. What Hewett is great at is melodic and hooky R&B/pop, and once Allegiance gets going it really doesn't stop. The best Walden productions, "Can We Try Again" and "Can't Get Over Your Love," have Hewett subtly attaining the sensuality he was begging for a few songs earlier. LiPluma places Hewett in the "sounds like a classic" pop-based direction and he gets to the point even faster. On the ballads "How Fast Forever Goes" and "Just Like a Woman," and the theatrical "Ronnie-O," Hewett gives a sense of believability and charisma with each line. This album is so charmed that the overwrought though well-intentioned inspirational number "To Thee I Pray" is enjoyable too. Unfortunately, Allegiance wasn't a big seller but it presents Hewett in great voice and displays his underrated range and likability.

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