Picks and Pans Review: Straight to the Heart
Crystal's never-ending saga—a career-long struggle to decide what style to sing in—continues. Gayle sounds more like a hardcore pop singer than she has in the recent past. There are few signs of country influences. She's bouncy and clear voiced enough to be good at straightforward pop tunes, though there's a lesson for her in her version of the old Johnnie Ray tearjerker, Cry. Gayle's natural singing style is so full of vocal quirks and built-in grace notes, she doesn't need the massive orchestra and chorus backup she often has. On the first half of Cry she sings with just a basic rhythm section, and the effect is strikingly intimate. She can't, however, resist the temptation of a big finish, going out with a flourish that isn't quite as big as Ray's but comes close. What is supposed to be moving is only loud. The rest of the album—Gayle's first under producer Jim Ed Norman, an Anne Murray collaborator—contains a likable if not earth-shaking batch of songs. Most notable is the title tune by Graham Lyle and Terry Britten. (Warner Bros.)
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