Patti LaBelle's 1989 album, Be Yourself, boasts a bevy of the day's brightest songwriters and producers, including the ubiquitous Diane Warren, who penned the album's lead single, "If You Asked Me To," which several years later became a massive hit for Celine Dion. Despite LaBelle's masterful, tear-inducing performance, the real gems on this set are two tunes written and produced by Prince: "Yo Mister," the set's second single (and a Top Ten R&B hit amazingly omitted from her 1996 Greatest Hits album), and "Love 89," which was co-written by Sheena Easton. These two songs find LaBelle at her funkiest -- they each have unstoppable beats, and despite the late-'80s production, still manage to sound fresh and undated, which is not entirely the case with the Full Force production "I Got It Like That." Other standouts include the funky title track, the melodic, Narada Michael Walden-produced "Still in Love," and the ballad "I Can't Complain." Most of the album's other ballads are toward the end, with the Bacharach-Sager-penned "Need a Little Faith" rising above the others. Despite a couple of unmemorable moments, Be Yourself doesn't disappoint by any means and is definitely worth having if only for the forgotten gems "Yo Mister" and "Love 89," which rank as some of Prince's better songs as well.
Be Yourself Review
by Jose F. Promis