Picks and Pans Review: Michelle Williams

updated 10/13/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/13/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Unexpected

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R&B-DANCE
Props to Michelle Williams for striving to carve out a solo identity separate from Destiny's Child and its force-of-nature frontwoman, Beyoncé. After two respectable gospel albums, she attempts to reinvent herself as a dance diva on Unexpected. But aside from the club hit "We Break the Dawn," she never really finds her groove. The synth-heavy "Hello Heartbreak," with overprocessed vocals that suck all of the soul out of her, sounds like a bad Britney knockoff. Williams is better off slowing it down on ballads like the sarcastic kiss-off "Thank U" and the pretty, piano-laced "Too Young for Love." Nothing unexpected, but they work.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Stop This Car," a Stargate-produced slow jam

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