Think Like A Girl

Diana King

The Work Group, 1997

http://www.dianakingdom.com

REVIEW BY: JB

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/21/1998

Pronounced "TINK", Think Like A Girl, reggae meets poppy production as Diana King kicks off her full-length album after the successful release of the single "Shy Guy" some years ago. I thought Flyte Time could make a funky groove but Diana King and Andy Marvel know how to work a club just as well. Last year, the big find was Sarah Brightman; this year, it's Diana King.

The Aretha Franklin remake of "I Say a Little Prayer" is, daresay, better than the original in some respects. King's please-get-lost vocals make for a solid background and power vocals that don't irritate a la Celine Dion. The beat, however, is a little too reminicent of the standard David Morales' monotonous drum machine creations. The vitality of the other dance tracks like "Sweeter", "Wicked" and the classic reggae jam "L-L-Lies" can go against anything Shep Pettibone has done for Madonna. All these, especially "New Girlfriend", promises to bring intelligent lyrics to the world of club and hopefully will help push out unintelligible DJ BoBo-ific works the Europeans keep dishing out.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

What makes this album stand out is its sincere personality. A cool and sophisticated warrior, Diana King has been there, gone through that; she knows her worth ("Love Yourself") and recommends other people, fiercely, to open their eyes. "Think Like a Girl" has all the seriousness of Janet Jackson's "Rythm Nation" but has a level-headed maturity "You Oughta Know" lacked. "Supa-Lova-Bwoy" has the convincing power to get the devastated and disappointed back into circulation, this time with a more definite knowledge of what's right. Either that, or it's a tribute to Jesus Christ.

But what I found most impressive was the ballads. Yes, we do have ballads galore and the market is quite saturated. But Diana King, being apologetically firm, cracks the mold and stays away from singing "baby" and seeing how elaborate a scale she can sing.

"Tenderness", while compromising nothing, asks for help across a beautiful acoustic arrangement of guitars and strings. This isn't saccharine; it's a tired woman. "Find My Way Back" is a joyfully determined conquest and has the effect of "Supa-Lova-Bwoy". The remake of Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" could've used a little more production; though it shows how sweet this voice can get, the chorus is the only thing that works for it.

The crowning achievement of this album, ballad or otherwise, is "Still". This amazing track has the most lush, flawless arrangement of verse and chorus I've heard since Mariah Carey's acoustic rendering of "Can't Let Go". The perfection of this track is reason enough for ballad fans to get this album; an example of what originality and personal, refined style can do.

The seaside prologue to "Wicked", the interlude "Mi Coffee" ("Mi coffee. Mi coffee. Mi coffee. Mi coffee. Mi bowl of boiling coffee in di mo'ning. I care for none of dese. Di only ting for me. Is mi cupa boiling coffee in di mo'ning."), the soulful intro to "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" and the studio entrance into "I Say a Little Prayer" makes this album more than a Recital by Diana King. Packed with goodies, true; but it's ultimately a lesson in self-expression and the deliciously satisfying knowledge of knowing what you can do and doing it well. Diana King's display of inner potential deserves to be snatched up by tired listeners and especially musicians who are, or should be, looking for their place. Like what she said; "Only one can make you HOT!"

Rating: A

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© 1998 JB and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of The Work Group, and is used for informational purposes only.