By the time 1983's In the Heart hit the streets, Kool & the Gang had left the fast lanes of funk for the smoother ride of the adult-oriented R&B expressway. Nevertheless, their grasp of 1980s soul sonics ensured that the band continued to top the charts with a verve and style that left their early influences firmly behind. With Ronald Bell temporarily stepping off the stage to shoulder the production, the band entered yet another fruitful era. With the monster hit "Joanna" setting the pace, Kool & the Gang powered their way through a set that seemed light to some, but still had enough force to push In the Heart into gold disc territory. Best heard across the aforementioned number one hit and, also, on the urgent but still smooth "Tonight," the band also excelled on "September Love," a sleepy ballad that holds forth with a tender touch. Elsewhere, Kool & the Gang filled in the gaps with their now-trademarked synthesized brand of smooth R&B standards and, despite its own successes, In the Heart would ultimately be remembered as the beginning of the downward spiral upon which the band would glide for most of the decade.
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AllMusic Review by Amy Hanson