Picks and Pans Review: Angie Stone

updated 11/05/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/05/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

The Art of Love & War |

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On her fourth studio effort, Angie Stone covers the ups and downs of romance with lyrical aplomb and a smooth yet commanding delivery. From the mellow funk of the first single, "Baby," a scorned woman's anthem featuring veteran soul songstress Betty Wright, to the John Legend-assisted ballad "Half a Chance" and the jazz-infused "Make It Last," Stone wisely eschews powerhouse wailing in favor of a more subtle approach that effectively showcases her rich alto. The result is one of the year's strongest R&B albums and a career best for Stone.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "These Are the Reasons," an irresistibly seductive slow jam.

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