Picks and Pans Review: Priceless

updated 05/19/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/19/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Kelly Price (Def Soul)

On "Introlude (The Pricey Bunch)," the first track on her fourth CD, R&B star Kelly Price quickly proves her worth as a vocalist. She reworks the theme of The Brady Bunch with a gospel fervor that transforms the song into her personal testimony: "Here's the story of a project baby who was dreaming of a better way of life." No doubt Price, with her roof-raising delivery, could sing the Yellow Pages and make you shiver. Unfortunately, she spends too much of this disc on material that doesn't measure up to her mighty voice (which, although the singer has dropped more than 130 lbs., has lost none of its heft). Hip-hoppish midtempo numbers like "Take It to the Head" (featuring rapper Keith Murray) aren't hip at all. At least on soul-soaked ballads like the organ-fueled "Strong Man (Jeff in C Minor)," Price gives you more for your money.

BOTTOM LINE: First-rate singer, cut-rate songs

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