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Picks and Pans Review: Moodring

updated 08/04/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/04/2003 01:00AM

Mýa (Interscope)
Critic's Choice

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Since her last album, 2000's Fear of Flying, Mýa has vamped it up with Christina Aguilera, Pink and Lil' Kim on their smash remake of "Lady Marmalade" and hoofed it up with Catherine Zeta-Jones on Murderer's Row in Chicago. Which helps explain why the 24-year-old singer (full name: Mýa Harrison) is in a naughty mood on her sparkling third CD. On the frisky first single, "My Love Is Like...Wo," she teases and tantalizes a prospective lover over a slinky groove produced by the ubiquitous Missy Elliott: "Better love me strong/ 'Cause I want this love to last all night long." Later, on the deeply funky "Why You Gotta Look So Good?" she details why her desire is making it hard to kick a man to the curb: "Boy I wish you wasn't quite so big." At times Moodring, with its trip-hop beats and sensual slow jams, is reminiscent of Aaliyah; other times the disc's pop-R&B sheen brings to mind a younger Janet Jackson. Like both of those singers, Mýa has developed a feathery sexiness to go along with the natural sweetness of her soprano, which nevertheless wouldn't scare the competition on American Idol. Still, this is the stuff that real pop idols are made of.

BOTTOM LINE: Sterling Moodring

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