Picks and Pans Review: Mirror Mirror

updated 07/10/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/10/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Kelly Price (Def Soul)

Album of the week

Whether it's Diana Ross and the Supremes or the hip-hop soul of Mary J. Blige, it is safe to say that a very high percentage of pop and R&B lyrics spin some variation of boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl scenarios. The trick is making that old standby sound new and fresh, to infuse a thematic cliché with a sense of passion and integrity.

On her sophomore CD, singer-songwriter Kelly Price doesn't reinvent the wheel, but she makes you feel as if she has. Mirror Mirror is a collection of sturdy R&B songs chronicling the ups and downs of a troubled marriage. Price injects feeling and an overriding warmth into what in lesser hands could have been just another bunch of songs about another cheating man. A former session singer (most notably for Puff Daddy and Mariah Carey), Price uses humor and a knowing eye to examine infidelity on songs like "Married Man," "She Wants You" and "3 Strikes." On the ballad "She Wants You" and on her hushed cover of Shirley Murdock's "As We Lay" (Mirror's first single), her heartache sounds palpable.

Armed with a womanly, from-the-gut voice that takes its soul from the church and its sass from the streets, Price makes her play for the big time with an engaging and emotional collection.

Bottom Line: The fairest R & B of all

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