Picks and Pans Review: Don't Let Love Slip Away
At first Jackson's third album seems merely like more catnip for the ladies, another sonorous seduction from this sugar daddy of soul. Although Jackson's talent as a singer has always been manifestly apparent, the problem for many listeners has been that if his sweet-little-nothings aren't putting your hormones into an uproar, he has tended to be pretty boring. In other words, if Freddie doesn't get you to swooning, you're probably snoozing. This time, though, Jackson folds a few wake-up calls into the mix. Oh, no question he's primarily taking care of his core audience with velvety ballads such as Hey Lover and One Heart Too Many. But a few songs on this record show Jackson to have an unexpectedly exciting and fiery vocal touch. Instead of purring, his usual MO, on If You Don't Know Me by Now, he's tight and tense, his voice coiled like a snake. Special Lady finds him a little sunnier, but no less energetic in his approach. He pulls out all the stops on Yes, I Need You, a melismatic tour de force on which he manages to talk almost dirty and sound almost spiritual. In this case, nobody could blame the ladies for overheating. By mixing some astringent passion in with his customary romantic blandishments, Jackson makes this his most accessible album—certainly the first one where you can like him without having to lust after him. (Capitol)
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