Departing noticeably from the dance-driven structures and hip-hop-spiked beats of the material on Soon, I'll Find Your Heart finds Sklar transitioning from funk meistress to folk-R&B siren. The influences are wide and colorful, including the electric guitar and Middle Eastern-style keyboards of "Fill Me Up"; the acoustic twang and sullen R&B of "Once in a Lifetime"; and the jazzy scales and rhythms of "Wish You Well." As the singer/guitarist's first effort as sole writer, producer, and arranger, the set boasts a consistent peacefulness that's not often found in contemporary pop. Sklar scats, coos, and sings passionately the songs with true conviction; and her performances on both keys and guitar are finely executed. The lyrical and melodic content manages to be both mature and youthful -- a remarkable feat. "Baby I'm Yours" is catchy enough to compete with the likes of *NSYNC, while "Ride Like the Wind" conjures images of a mellow Whitney Houston. But the pinnacle is the aforementioned "Once in a Lifetime," a mid-tempo, vibrant fusion of soul, folk, pop, and dance styles that is at once emotionally urgent and sonically cleansing. The somewhat thin drum programming is the only element that keeps many of the songs from reaching their full potential -- more of a live feel would undoubtedly enhance the strength of the melodies. But in whole, it's not enough to detract from the purity of the compositions. Whereas the content of Soon provided a varied sampling of Sklar's vocal proficiency in several genres, I'll Find Your Heart is a more focused showcase of her style as a singer/songwriter.
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