Jody Watley - Flower (Atlantic/Warner Music) Jody Watley is probably one of the most under-rated R & B female vocalists of the '90s. Granted, her presence on the music scene has been patchy. Since she launched her solo career - after leaving the group Shalamar - with the funky Looking for a New Love, her success with the four albums since her self-titled debut has been erratic.
Hopefully her latest effort, Flower, will finally give Watley the respect due to her. Her voice is smooth and sultry and unlike so many soul singers today, unmistakable.
It is evident Watley has 'bloomed' with Flower, finally having found a sound she is comfortable with. She also seems to be far more comfortable with herself, with lyrics that exude a self-confidence and happiness not seen in much of her earlier work.
Ultimately, what makes this album a winner is that it incorporates a variety of musical styles. The opening track is the beautiful Lovin' You So, classic soul tinged with folk funk. On the remix of the album's first release, Off the Hook, Watley teams up with rapping genius Rakim on this jazzy, highly danceable track. The title track Flower borders on blues.
Some of the lyrics may get a little repetitive and contrived, but musically this album is Watley's best.