Laurie Roth

Always Best Friends

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Radio DJ Laurie Roth's musical debut is a pleasant, if often formulaic, set comprised of slick pop-urban hybrid ballads and light, danceable Top 40 ditties. Despite having a rather fragile voice, she injects substantially more emotion and interpretation into her material than contemporaries Madonna and Janet Jackson. The best moments lie in the most rhythmic, hook-laden numbers: the defiant new jack swing of "Don't Blame It on Me," the punchy melody and phrasing of "Thru the Wall," and the buoyant "Baby, Do the Right Thing." Roth contributes several of her own compositions as well, but these aren't as structurally secure. In addition, a misguided remake of the Mary Jane Girls' "In My House" (sadly, the only single released from the album by C-Four) is rhythmically unexciting and vacuous in its arrangement. Always Best Friends is somewhat inconsistent, but provides a handful of enjoyable moments for listeners looking for light and catchy fare delivered by a singer with unique character.