Picks and Pans Review: Affairs of the Heart

updated 01/13/1992 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/13/1992 01:00AM

Jody Watley

A more suitable title might be Adventures of the Feet. The best parts are the heat waves: the slam-jam of "Dance to the Music" (not the old Sly and the Family Stone song), the vibrant vamp of "I Want You" and "Call on Me," marked by its finger-popping funk guitar and firecracker percussion.

In those dance grooves, Watley can work you like a marionette. But when the onetime Soul Train dancer lets the tempo drag, your attention may drag too.

Watley is like an actor talking about getting a chance to stretch. Since her nonstop-dance debut, Jody Watley, she has added more slow songs. Ballads, her weak suit, make up almost half of this, her third release.

In fairness, the down-tempo title track is the album's most musically sophisticated. The slight harmonies and beat indicate the influence Prince has had on Watley's longtime collaborator Andre Cymone. And Watley delivers her most impressive vocals to date on "It All Begins with You" and "Until the Last Goodbye." Still, her pipes are too thin, her expression too laminated, to make her an effective balladeer.

There is no evident passion contained on this record, but fortunately Watley still furnishes abundant reasons to move. (MCA)

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