Jody Watley

Midnight Lounge

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Proving once again that showcasing a diva's vocal abilities is only as good as the talented producers behind the mixing board, Midnight Lounge is a fine return to form and finds Jody Watley going back to her deep clubbing roots. It's a refreshing change of pace, forgoing the commercial club sounds her career has been synonymous with and replacing them with some of the finest deep house producers in the genre. Midnight Lounge makes no bones about its identity right from the immediate onset, enlisting deep house veteran Dave Warrin to produce two of the album's most sensual tracks ("Whenever" and "Photographs") and setting up longtime collaborators Masters at Work (with special guest jazz legend Roy Ayers) for the most upbeat track on the album. Positively charged lyrics set among lush production are the norm for each track, giving it more of a feeling of something to listen to after a big night out or during a great night in. And while the uptempo/downtempo sequencing of songs can be a bit abrupt, the quality more is than compensatory, with very little filler (perhaps the cover of Peter Gabriel's classic "Don't Give Up" is unnecessary) to speak of throughout. Bonus remixes appear at the end of the CD and retain the high quality set forth throughout the initial record. A welcome return to one of dance music's most prominent divas.

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