Original Soundtrack

Disappearing Acts

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One of the better R&B soundtracks to appear in the new century, this smolders with a sensuality that befits the sexually charged film Disappearing Acts. What gives this selection an edge is the balance struck by male and female artists, sometimes in the same song. The result is a give-and-take between the two sexes played out in music. While the collection runs the gamut from rap-rock to ballads, the consistently high quality ties it all together. Sultry vocalists like En Vogue's Terry Ellis, Angie Stone, and Spooks' Ming Xia join more established solo artists Chaka Khan and Me'Shell Ndegéocello to achieve the ultimate end, which seems to be getting a good groove on. Not everything works; Talib Kweli's rap pulls up lame (a chicken ain't nothing but a bird?) and Chaka Khan oversings "Have a Little Faith in Me," but there are surprisingly few weak spots here. Highlights include Ndegéocello's erotic whispers on "Remember," Spooks' "Sweet Revenge," Angie Stone's ebullient "Get to Know You Better," and Donny Hathaway's ballad "A Song for You." The rap tracks aren't particularly good, but it's not a medium well suited to romance anyway. Disappearing Acts does mark the appearance of a pair of young acts with lots of potential: Melky Sedeck (the brother and sister of Wyclef Jean) and Spooks (whose Ming Xia is a real treasure). The romantic mood dissipates toward the end of the disc, taking a decidedly more groovy turn with tracks like Spooks' "Flesh Not Bone" and the funk flashback "Super People." Closing on the noisy funk-rock-rap "Y.O.Y." is an odd choice; while it's a fine song (easily the best rap track here), it all but erases the romantic mood that earlier songs worked hard to cultivate. Even without the romantic ending, it's not hard to see why Disappearing Acts (the soundtrack) was popular with R&B fans. A nice balance of familiar flames and new faces, with nothing up its sleeve but good music (as opposed to the usual label hype).

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