Bodyheat is a low-key effort filled with ballads and female backup vocals. "Woman," set to the tune of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," recasts that song's message. "Got a new kiss," Brown says in the seductive "Kiss in 77," and he also covers "What the World Needs Now Is Love," extending the romantic tone. "James Brown -- A New Sound," reads the album jacket, and in his liner notes, Brown signs himself, "With the feeling of a new beginning...a new sound." The heat, clearly, is supposed to generate a Phoenix-like rebirth for Brown, which it didn't quite succeed in doing, perhaps because the "new sound" turned out to be suspiciously close to that of Earth, Wind & Fire.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann