Angélique Kidjo

Keep on Moving: The Best of Angelique Kidjo

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Angélique Kidjo's greatest-hits CD is a broad introduction to the popular African world music artist, whose styles include Zairean rhumba, reggae, jazz, funk, zouk, and makossa, and zilin vocals. Designed to condense her career down to one disc, Keep on Moving: The Best of Angelique Kidjo is a record for new fans. The disc contains 17 songs from her five full-length albums from the 1990s and one previously unavailable track. More than any other Kidjo release, Keep on Moving showcases the burgeoning relationship between modern African music and American soul. As energetic and upbeat as some of the tracks on this album are, Angélique Kidjo is equally represented here by ballads like "Fifa." While all 18 tracks are good, this collection has a somewhat schizophrenic feel. The decade-long evolution from African-infused rock to more R&B and pop songs seems jarring in the span of 74 minutes. Afro-pop dance songs like "Agolo," "Babalao," and "Aye" seem almost out of place next to some of the set's bluesy and spare numbers. The track order is not chronological either, and a longtime fan will tell when a track from 1991 gives way to one from 1998. Since Kidjo's albums are not singles-oriented, Keep on Moving lacks the unified mood of her best albums. Often a "Greatest Hits" or a "Best Of" compilation collects all the good material an artist has to offer and becomes a band's only essential release. (Famous examples include the Spin Doctors' Just Go Ahead Now or Duran Duran's Decade.) Keep on Moving might be the first Kidjo CD for some people, but it only scratches the surface of her rich catalog. Keep on Moving is a very good sampler of her career, but doesn't contain all of Kidjo's best songs. This disc should serve as an invitation to discover the rest of her music. This Best Of has only one song from her debut. Parakou, three from Oremi, four each from Logozo and Aye, and five from Fifa. What is included, however, is exciting. Of interest to new fans will be Kidjo's pop collaborations: "Naima" with rocker Carlos Santana and "Open Your Eyes" with hip-hop star Kelly Price. Other standout songs include "Malika," her creative take on Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," and a cover of George Gershwin's "Summertime." Use this as a beginning point, but keep in mind that their are other great hits not included here, including her Cassandra Wilson duet "Never Know," "Easy as Life" from Elton John's Aida, and "Ife," which is only available on Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Keep on Moving might be the best introduction to the wonderful world of Angélique Kidjo but Oremi is still her best record.

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