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A REAL VOCALISTS ALBUM.
on May 31, 2000
While "Affection" made her a star, "Real Love" makes you truly appreciate her unique artistry. Released in late 1991, Lisa Stansfield's wondrous sophomore LP is everything a follow-up is supposed to be. While her debut is, in my mind, still a dance/pop classic, "Real Love" changes gears and opts for a richer, creamy smooth, urbane sound. Perfectly balancing dance textures with a plethora of live instrumentation and beautifully organic shadings, this is an album any music lover can truly enjoy. As enjoyable as the musical textures on this album are, the real star of the show once again is Lisa's stunning voice. Her growth as a singer is apparent from the opening notes of the first track, "Change". For the most part, Ms. Stansfield's delivery is unhurried and assured on all of these buttery confections, the best of them being: "Time To Make You Mine", the jaunty, horn accented "Symptoms of Lonliness and Heartache"(check out the great flute solo!), "All Woman", which is the best ballad ever recorded about being appreciative of your mate. The lyrics brilliantly balance feminine vulnerability and dignity and her singing makes an indelible impression. "Just A Little More Love" rides a mellow, understated bass groove and places Lisa's singing right at the fore of the simple arrangement (the way she sings the word 'anything' before the second chorus will make you MELT), the majestic title track with it's insistent backbeat and immediatley catchy refrain will stay in your head for days. She closes out the LP with a trio of ballads, each complementing the other with a surging momentum building from the almost acapella "Tenderly", followed by the piano and handclaps intro to "It's Got To Be Real" which crashes into a fantastic driving horn arrangement and gospel-tinged chorus. The closer, "I Will Be Waiting" is the album's crowning moment. Over a Barry White inspired groove(all the trademarks of his sound are present; muted trumpets on the chorus, funky, mellow bass playing, crisp drums and cascading strings in the background all complement one of Lisa's most heartfelt vocal performances. This song makes you cry, and when it's over you play it again, just so you can cry some more. Perfect. Modern romanticism set to gorgeous music, enjoy "Real Love" alone or with a special someone, either way it's a very rewarding listen.