We weren’t sure what this was going to be like, except that if the Press budget extends down the food chain to us, great things must be expected. Deservedly so.
Banish thoughts of cheesy pop or pop diva-ish warbling: this is a great pop/RnB album and Stansfield gives a masterclass in how to produce music: nothing flashy, keep it understated and make sure the groove comes first.
Everything opens, with staccato notes that seem to echo Paul Weller’s Shout To The Top. Given the restraint that follows, that could be deliberate; there was no raising of voices in the making on this album.
Everything is peak-era Michael Jackson with a cool 80s funk/disco beat, Stansfield keeping the vocals low key. Whatever your age, it’ll take you back, playing dance music to get in the mood for a night on the town. Twisted opens with just Stansfield and piano, before a splash of salsa then an upbeat Motown-inspired song, complete with brass, and stronger vocals.
Desire is one where the bass makes the tune. Stansfield opens but then comes a classic 80s synth bass, a Miami Vice theme as Crocket and Tubbs follow clues into a snazzy nightclub. Billionaire has a Jim Steinman quality and is more radio friendly than some of the other songs.
Elsewhere, Hercules is perhaps the standout, a joyous tune that deviates from the formula and is more rock than soul. Just Can’t Help Myself is more Moby than the Quincy Jones of the openers; there’s old school funk in Butterflies. To be sure, if you like edgy music this is not for you, but if you want to be popped in, souled out, as someone once put it, it’ll please you greatly.