Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds Playlist (Mercury) Having recorded eight solo albums and written hits for acts as diverse as Eric Clapton, Madonna, TLC and Boyz II Men, why would Babyface turn to a collection of middle-of-the-road soft-rock covers for his latest outing? It's a mystery why he chose to render Bread, Bob Dylan, Dan Fogelberg and James Taylor tunes, and others, in mostly uniform understated acoustic form, with little spin towards his signature soulful style. Dylan's Knockin' on Heaven's Door and Clapton's Wonderful Tonight are the worst offenders for overplayed inclusions - with Babyface adding nothing at all. The opener, Taylor's Shower the People, might strike a chord with Stevie Wonder fans thanks to its arrangement and vocal delivery but, like much of the album, it's pretty bland. Fire and Rain, another Taylor classic, boasts more imposing vocals and guitar playing. Time in a Bottle - originally by Jim Croce - is the album's other sensitive highlight, with superb flamenco-influenced guitar. But these two tracks do not save an otherwise insipid album. Of two new songs included, Not Going Nowhere is a heavy, plodding number, dealing with the aftermath of divorce for kids; The Soldier Song tells of an 18-year-old conscript's premature death, with harmonica promising to break into interesting folksy interludes but never quite doing so. One for diehard Babyface fans or those interested in soft-rock covers, perhaps, but not for many others.