Deborah Cox

Destination Moon

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Artist tributes are tricky pieces of work. Most of the time, they aren't recorded by the biggest names of the moment, and they're usually sub-par. Instead of putting out an album of new music after a five-year hiatus, and twelve years into her career, Canadian R&B diva Deborah Cox released Destination Moon, a tribute to jazz legend Dinah Washington. Cox refers to this album as a personal tribute to her legend growing up. Frankly, she does justice to the works, which make for a strong representation of Washington's hits over her far too brief career. Cox's voice, in all its purity, has never sounded better, with the honey tones in her raspy instrument flourishing throughout the album's big moments. Unfortunately, the album is full of awkward missteps that steer this work off course: Cox doesn't always connect with the songs. Many of the tracks seem robotic; Cox sings them well, but doesn't emote to the best of her ability, something that has always been a flaw of hers in the past. Therefore, Moon appears to be more of a lifetime biopic of Dinah Washington's musical career than a genuine blockbuster. For an artist like Washington, who has garnered much respect even to this day for her creativeness and emotional capacity, Cox suffers in both attributes. Considering Moon is supposed to be a tribute, as such it seems flat. In addition, the timing of the album seems like an odd choice for Cox; there is a five-year gap between this album and The Morning After (excluding Remixed, a collection of dance re-recordings), but this may be because of her label shift from J-Records to Decca. And because she has stayed out of the limelight for some time, jumping back into the music scene with a tribute doesn't seem like the smartest move on her part. In addition, Cox is an R&B diva who is known for her dance tracks and smooth grooves. Jazz seems awkward for the Canadian superstar, who handles the shift well vocally, but seems to have missed the mark in most other places. Ultimately, the album is too indulgent on Cox's part, and in order for the whole piece to be credible, especially for Cox, whose popularity has slowly faded since her newest album, she needed to nail every part of the album, not just the vocals.

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