The Temptations

Awesome [2 CD]

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The latter-day, Otis Williams-led Temptations have an impossible task on their hands in measuring up to the past. The classic earlier lineups of this storied vocal group featured such striking lead singers as David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, and Dennis Edwards, vocalists that are difficult -- if not impossible-to replace, and while nothing about the Millennium version of the Temptations is patently awful, little about them inspires or sustains the way earlier incarnations of the group did. The vocals on Awesome are still gorgeous (most of the leads were done by either Ali "Ollie" Woodson or Ron Tyson), and the harmonies are as wonderful as ever, but the songs on this album are simply weak, and the urban-lite, synth-heavy arrangements do little to rescue them. This edition features a second disc of bonus tracks, which unfortunately suffers from the same ailments, with the exception of the final cut, an interesting cover of a wonderful and little-known Marvin Gaye song, "Where Are We Going?" Fans of the classic Temptations from the 1960s and 1970s will find this latest release to be no more than a bland and unnecessary epilogue to the original group.

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