Picks and Pans Review: Oasis

updated 01/09/1989 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/09/1989 01:00AM

Roberta Flack

While this pop-spiced elixir is her first record in four years, Flack still has that angel-in-the-night voice, perfect for soothing the lovesick soul. The album kicks off jubilantly with the title track, a Marcus Miller-Mark Stevens tune that features such sentimental lyrics as "In the morning, when I see the sun/I think about you." That Afro-Caribbean-flavored ode ends too abruptly, which seems odd coming from a perfectionist who once insisted her record company recall 500,000 singles of Killing Me Softly with His Song so she could tack on a better finish. The album bogs down during a couple of nondescript ballads. But a support group including Brenda Russell, Barry Miles, Miller, Ashford and Simpson and even poet Maya Angelou (as lyricist) adds flavor as the high priestess of the amorous ballad exercises her rites. (Flack has said that the successes of Whitney Houston, Anita Baker and Sade prepared the pop music world to appreciate her soft voice anew.) There's some classic Flack smoothness in You Who Brought Me Love, And So It Goes, You Know What It's Like and Brazil (dedicated to that country's popmeister, Djavan). Her followers will also enjoy All Caught Up in Love (by Marvin Hamlisch and Siedah Garrett) and Ashford and Simpson's catchy Look Out Here We Come. A labor of love if ever there was one—these are songs containing such lines as "two bodies like butter," "under the warm Rio night we danced," "and through the cloudy haze of smoke and romance, open my eyes"—this is a welcome comeback by a most emotionally satisfying pop singer. (Atlantic)

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