Picks and Pans Review: As Good as It Gets

updated 11/21/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/21/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Deniece Williams

Williams' voice is brimming with vim and vigor on her latest collection of pop-soul. Deniece, who combines the best qualities of Minnie Ripperton and Stephanie Mills, is so radiant a vocalist that even indifferent material comes to life under her treatment. On As Good As It Gets, the sometime gospel singer sneaks in a few devotional messages. But most of the time, she's skipping blithely down lover's lane, as on the infectiously bouncy I Can't Wait, about a girl neglecting her job and friends in favor of the joy she finds in her boyfriend's arms. On It's You I'm After, Howard Hewett proves a compatible duet partner for Williams. That's quite an accomplishment. There's a unique enthusiasm in Williams' delivery and a tension to her tone that energize and illuminate dance numbers (There's No Other) and ballads (the Maurice White-influenced Memories). Williams' pure vocal gifts are such that she can make even a relatively undistinguished batch of songs like As Good As It Gets seem pretty darn zesty. (Columbia)

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