Wayne Wonder

No Holding Back

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Wayne Wonder has kicked around on the reggae scene for quite a while without catching fire stateside, but VP Records, backed by Atlantic Records' promotional muscle, changed that in the spring of 2003, with the single "No Letting Go," which became a Top 40 hit. Atlantic may well have been looking at the numbers posted by Shaggy in opening up a new pop/reggae market and hoping for the same. But Wonder is more akin to an R&B/hip-hop artist like Usher, singing in his rhythmic tenor over the synthesized beats. Indeed, this isn't so much a reggae album as a contemporary R&B recording with slight reggae elements here and there, if you forget that the singer is from Jamaica. "Life is a medium in which we all must travel," he declares portentously at the outset, following with a few more lines of pseudo-philosophical drivel. But when the songs start, nothing so high-minded is considered. From "No Letting Go" on, the only thing on Wonder's mind is love, and if he has nothing new to say about it, he nevertheless keeps things moving along nicely. The album is a consistent toe-tapper, and for those happy to sway to "No Letting Go," there's plenty more of the same.

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