Picks and Pans Review: Patti Austin

updated 05/07/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/07/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Patti Austin

Since she stopped concentrating on composing and backup singing and turned to a solo-singing career five years ago, Austin, 33, has been zeroing in on a workable style. She won a Grammy nomination last year for her duet with James Ingram, and this album's mix centers on mild touches of soul and funk with generous helpings of romance and easy, danceable rhythm. It includes the smooth It's Gonna Be Special, written by Clif Magness and Glen Ballard and produced by Quincy Jones (who was co-producer for the whole LP). Everybody's Doobie Brother, Michael McDonald, shows up on electric piano on the melancholy Any Way You Can, which he wrote with David Pack. And Austin gets up (or down, as the case may be) for Hot! In the Flames of Love, one of those Narada Michael Walden post-disco specials. This isn't an album for those who demand shrewdness in their lyrics: "Out in the street we'll feel the beat"; "Change your attitude/Why do you have to be so rude"; "I know in this world of people/There is only one for me." In fact, Austin, who has written such songs as End of the Rainbow, could do worse than to use some of her own material—none of which is on this album. She can do a lot with a little, though. Much of the art of pop music has to do with turning the ridiculous into the sublime, and she is getting better at it all the time. (Qwest)

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