Maysa

Love Is a Battlefield

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Roughly a decade after she released her first Shanachie album, the all-covers Sweet Classic Soul, Maysa recorded another set of reinterpretations, her ninth full-length for the same label. Compared to Sweet Classic Soul, the source material here is broader, pulling from six decades, stretching back to the '60s for "Mr. Dream Merchant," popularized by Jerry Butler. It is highlighted by another Isley Brothers quiet storm staple -- "Footsteps in the Dark," a stellar duet with All-4-One's Jamie Jones. A few other cuts originate from Maysa's late-'70s/early-'80s sweet spot, including the fiery ballads "Inseparable" (Natalie Cole) and "Am I Dreaming" (Atlantic Starr), and the tears-at-the-rink gem "Inside Out" (Odyssey), all performed faithfully, while the title track (Pat Benatar) gets a measured and restrained makeover. Updates of a couple early-'90s singles -- Nona Gaye's "The Things We Do for Love" and Tevin Campbell's Top Ten Babyface collaboration "Can We Talk" -- lead the album. "As Long as You Love Me," not the Impressions song, but the Justin Bieber hit from 2012, is the least expected selection by far. Maysa puts as much into it as she does anything else here, a satisfying companion to Sweet Classic Soul and her other covers LPs.

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