Picks and Pans Review: Moving on
A musician of Oleta Adams's vocal and songwriting stature deserves better than this. In an apparent bid to duplicate the success of "Get Here," her 1990 breakthrough single, Adams hired producers whose resumes include work with Mariah Carey and Anita Baker. Adams has also piled her third album with the elements that make crossover R&B tick: sax interludes, quaint backup harmonies, by-the-numbers arrangements and candlelight babble like "just want to rock you in my arms in slow motion."
To her credit, Adams doesn't try luring aging hipsters with sample-happy hip-hop soul, as Carey does with her hit "Fantasy." But Adams does lull them with snoozers like "Never Knew Love," a tune that goes beyond easy-listening to easy-to-tune-out. Her burnished alto rarely gets its due; soothing and precise, it nonetheless struggles to triumph over mediocre material. Only "Life Keeps Moving On" and "Long Distance Love" offer the sort of sophisticated musical pleasures that keep Moving On moving. (Fontana/Mercury)