Sheryfa Luna

Si Tu Me Vois

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A throwback to the era when R&B wasn't dominated by collaborations with David Guetta and similar superstar DJs, French-Algerian songstress Sheryfa Luna's third album, Si Tu Me Vois, is an admirably old-school affair that, like her previous two records, provides a touch of much-needed class to the contemporary urban scene. Produced by Bustafunk (Jena Lee), only the shimmering Britney-esque "Il y a des Jours" succumbs to the ubiquitous electro-pop sound, as the rest of its 14 tracks match the former Popstars winner's effortlessly seductive tones to an unfussy but resolutely sassy soul sound free of any wailing sirens, phoned-in guest raps, or Ibiza-friendly synths. The plinky piano chords, funky beats, and gentle horns on "T'Aimer et Faire Semblant" recall the mid-'90s streetwise girl group sounds of En Vogue and TLC; "Tu Me Manques" is a passionate, if slightly predictable, attempt to adhere to the Ryan Tedder school of balladry; while there are convincing stabs at crunk ("Crois en Toi"), jazz-soul ("Ça Ne Change Rien"), and Gallic hip-hop ("On Ne Vivra"). Unfortunately, the encouraging invention shown on the first five tracks soon makes way for a stream of forgettable and repetitive melancholic piano-led ballads ("Feeling," "Tu Seras un Homme," "Parce Que C'est Toi"), which makes much of the latter half indistinguishable until the gospel-tinged "Je Ne Suis Qu'une Femme" and the bluesy licks of "Il Paraît" provide a much-needed change of pace. Si Tu Me Vois is still a refreshing antidote to most of the current Anglo-U.S. R&B fare, but with a little more quality control, it could have been so much more.

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