Lisa Vale

And I Love You

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It's unfortunate that Lisa Vale's debut album received so little attention. A positive, upbeat assortment of adult contemporary-oriented pop fare laced with R&B and funk elements, And I Love You offers engaging melodies and true-to-life lyrics (most co-penned by Vale) delivered by the singer with remarkable purity. She may not be soul sister number nine, but Vale's bright, clear style resounds with an understated power that is youthful and equally enticing. Highlights of the 11-song set are the soulful shuffler "Deeper Shade of Love"; the glowing, light reggae swing of "Open Up Your Heart"; and the reflective, emotive ballad "Waiting in the Wings" -- the latter earlier recorded by Diana Ross. Less-capable pop vocalists Paula Abdul and Cathy Dennis enjoyed strings of Top Ten pop hits in the early '90s, and there's no reason Vale shouldn't have also -- given she had considerably more depth in her material and performance. Furthermore, Humberto Gatica's production is simultaneously accessible and sophisticated -- and a cut above that afforded to those artists. But as pop radio began to grow more trendy and fickle during this period, simpler, quality artists like Vale got lost in the shuffle.

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