Picks and Pans Review: Home

updated 10/09/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/09/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Stephanie Mills

Sit down immediately when you put this album on, because the first track will pole-ax you. Mills has a voice that's an intriguing mix of power and sweetness, so when she sets it loose on the right kind of material—such as the opener, the Angela Win-bush composition "Something in the Way (You Make Me Feel)"—it makes for a stunningly sensuous listening experience.

She also lets it fly on "Home," a song that was her showstopper as the teen star of The Wiz on Broadway—offered this time with backing by the righteous Southern a cappella group, Take 6. Even when Mills restrains herself, she can still overpower a song that doesn't fight back, and that's what she does on "Real Love" and "Comfort of a Man."

There's not much chance of that happening on the album's second side. In what has become a common strategy for soul singers, Mills has bifurcated Home into a mellow half (which is dubbed "Lovin' ") and a funky half ("Partyin' "). The best song on the latter part, the gripping dance-number-like "I Come to You," is the only one on which Mills doesn't open the bomb-bay doors fully. Virtues of restraint, anyone? Overall, Home has plenty of selections on which Mills's voice is not shown off to its greatest advantage. But when things click and she's got it going, man, she'll knock your feet out from under you. (MCA)

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