Picks and Pans Review: Masterpiece Theatre

updated 07/17/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/17/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

En Vogue (Elektra)

At their height in the early '90s, En Vogue ruled as the queens of smart R&B. Sexy, sassy, elegant and edgy, the foursome were blessed with luscious voices and lip-smacking looks. With hits like "Hold On," "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" and "Whatta Man," the group sold four million albums in two years. But then, in 1997, lead singer Dawn Robinson departed from the group, leaving Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones and Terry Ellis to soldier on as a trio. Here, En Vogue is reunited with Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy, the production and writing team behind their earlier success. Unfortunately, the old magic seems lacking. The first Masterpiece single is far from being one: "Riddle" is a laundry list of relationship woes that runs too long and rings too false. ("It's the weekend and you know that's the day I do my cleaning.") And the rest of the album is equally inane. Sadly, the self-proclaimed "Funky Divas" now sound more like divas in a funk.

Bottom Line: Out of vogue

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