Picks and Pans Review: Flower

updated 04/06/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/06/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jody Watley

With many R & B balladeers eliciting oohs and aahs with melismatic vocal contortions, it's refreshing to hear from a woman who knows the value of sighs and whispers. Working in a genre that tends to be awash in syrup, Watley is neither too sticky nor too sweet. The sixth solo album from the onetime Soul Train dancer and former Shalamar chanteuse is a pleasant exercise in restraint. Yet Flower finds the singer, producer and songwriter experimenting with an unrestrained and transparent marketing strategy. The album arrives just as the April issue of Playboy, starring Watley in a six-page pictorial, lands on newsstands. (Atlantic)

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