Phyllis Hyman

Living All Alone/Prime of My Life

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

The third and final phase of Phyllis Hyman's tragically short career kicked off in high gear. Her new label, the mighty Philadelphia International, gave her a new lease on her recording career and a fresh palette of sounds to help reinvent herself following her tenure under Clive Davis' Arista stewardship. The first half of this two-for-one compilation, Living All Alone, is a distinctly resonant archive piece featuring instantly identifiable mid-'80s R&B elements: crisp, polished production, overly chorused vocals, and heavy synth programming. But Hyman's delivery transcends many of these elements to create some timeless material, especially the poignant "Old Friend," which would later become a song many would instantly identify with Hyman. The second half, 1991's Prime of My Life, makes the dramatic shift and shows just how the R&B landscape changed in a few short years. Here, Hyman's vocal delivery is just as strong and the production is just as contemporary, but the material wanes at points. The whole affair seems a bit cryptic, though, as Hyman's personal life was just beginning its tumultuous descent that would ultimately claim her life.

blue highlight denotes track pick