Picks and Pans Review: Any Love

updated 11/07/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/07/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Luther Vandross

Remember the Beatles' Hey Jude? In the extended climax of the song, Paul McCartney improvised away at his most transcendent as the chorus repeated the same musical nonsense phrase, Na na na na na na na, na na na na, Hey Jude, over and over. Having the vocalist scat freely over a simple refrain is a trick the Beatles copped from American soul music (which, in turn, developed it from gospel). It's a trick that is far from worn out, too, as Vandross demonstrates to perfection on this album's first cut, I Wonder. Once he has established his vocal chops on this song and the equally frisky She Won't Talk to Me, Vandross settles in for a long and enjoyable Valentine's Day massacre. That is, he lines up a row of romantic ballads and then mows 'em down with that big, cushy voice of his. For You to Love and the title track exhibit as elegant a delivery as Dionne Warwick ever fashioned. There is also a cover of the Major Harris hit Love Won't Let Me Wait that is as rich as Devonshire cream. Four songs on the album have the word "love" in the title. On the rest, the sentiment is merely implicit. Any Love is Vandross's prettiest record, and he achieves that gloss without sacrificing any of his soulfulness or his sophistication. (Epic)

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