Told You So

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Best known for her duet with fellow Chicagoan R. Kelly, Sparkle makes her debut on Motown Records with a tepid effort, one that is difficult to distinguish from the likes of Brandy, Aaliyah, Mya, and at least half a dozen other R&B divas. The album's first single, "It's a Fact," is the album's highlight, featuring a sensuous guitar line and confident vocals. Unfortunately, most of the other tracks are completely indistinguishable from much of modern R&B. Songs like the "Good Life" and "I Don't Know Why" wallow in empty materialism while "Lovin' a Man" is a boring re-tread of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "Your Precious Love." Even the song titles on the album are derivative, with names like "The Ghetto" and "Never Can Say Goodbye" that borrow from classics by Donny Hathaway and the Jackson 5. While her name may suggest otherwise, Sparkle's debut lacks luster.

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