Vivian Green

Vivian

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AllMusic Review by

A warning siren is bound to go off in the heads of some Vivian Green fans when they see how she looks on the front of Vivian. "Oh, no -- she's gone pop!" Not quite. Back when 2002's A Love Story hit the shelves, neo-soul was still one of the big things in the industry, if not with as much platinum potential as the late '90s or 2000, and being from Philadelphia and affiliated with Jill Scott meant that Green would be marketed as such. A Love Story showed all the signs of falling into that category, what with string arrangements from Larry Gold, versatile assistance from Soulquarian James Poyser, and some production work from deep house producer Osunlade. Despite these factors, it didn't channel the past nearly as much as Baduizm or Voodoo. Green was as pop as she was neo-soul, and on Vivian, her second album, she's just a little more pop than neo-soul, so there's really no big difference in makeup. Poyser's still on board, and he's one of the most skilled multi-purpose handymen when it comes to playing pop off soul and vice versa; the best instance of this is "I Like It (But I Don't Need It)," a breezy and sweet song featuring a crafty Crown Heights Affair sample and some irresistible singalong hooks from Green. Scott Storch and Che Vicious, who are both known more for lacing beats on gangsta rap albums, also chip in with fittingly understated work. Green, whose absence from the recording studio is likely due to becoming a mother, sounds more sure of herself here than on A Love Story, and she's also more convincing, regardless of the scenario she's placed within. A few extraneous songs do weigh Vivian down, but it's still a marked improvement over her debut. [Vivian was initially released as a copy-protected CD, which may not register on some computers.]

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