Tyler Collins

Tyler

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What distinguishes Tyler Collins' sophomore effort from Girls Nite Out is the more organic approach taken to the songs. Ahead of the neo-soul bandwagon that began traveling in the mid-'90s, Collins' producers infuse prominent guitars and more surprising elements like the steel drum on numbers such as "Freedom" and "Just Make Me the One." The process isn't totally authentic -- there's still ample programming in most of the songs. But the presence of real piano and funky guitars played with true style in "Slide," for instance, is refreshing against the more sugarcoated strains of tracks by Collins' new jack contemporaries. Vocally, Collins isn't any powerhouse, but she sings more convincingly than on her first set, and not as thinly. Her best moments are on the emotive ballad "I Can't Stand the Pain" and the moody, midtempo track "The Sound of Thunder." "Good Things Take Time," a funky and stylistic departure for songwriter Diane Warren that went completely unnoticed, features another notable melody and arrangement. While Collins' limitations show on a few of the more sophisticated numbers, this set generally dispels notions of her as a fly-by-night dance-pop starlet.

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