Various Artists

Soul Power [Dome]

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An alternative to rap: freestyle, contemporary R&B tailored for those seeking songs dealing with heart checks and love/relationship quagmires. The voices outshine the material, but that's because the voices are so superb, everyone's a singer's singer, and the vocalists are some of music's brightest lights. Feel Mica Paris' soul on "I Wish I Never Met You" -- a sumptuous duet with Bobby Womack, Rahsaan Patterson's "Treat You Like a Queen," Beverlei "the Body" Brown's "Best Friend," Coolys Hot Box's smokin' "Friend of Mine," and others, including Denetria Chance, who holds a baptismal on the wrenching "'I Will Always Remember You," sounding uncannily like Aretha Franklin. Slide it in, select shuffle, and forget about it, cause all 16 tracks are together.

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