Melissa Manchester unveiled "In a Perfect World," the first single from her new album, on General Hospital not long ago. The soap opera setting was appropriate: the song is awash in the sort of big emotions that play well on daytime TV.
With her first new album in five years, Manchester is understandably eager to prove she still has the voice that powered such hits as "Midnight Blue" (1975). Maybe too eager. This album works best when she plays off her backup singers, as in the gospel-tinged "The House That Love Built." Left on her own, she sometimes slips into sentimental overload: the lumbering title track would need help from NASA getting aloft. But Manchester's fans won't be disappointed—as long as they remember they're not living in a perfect world. (Atlantic)