STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 5121-4898 LABEL: Columbia 5082432 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2002-05-13
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Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
Destiny's Child have created quite a bit of consternation within Christian circles with the continued "Are they? Aren't they?" debate. Comments have been made about the use of their sexuality and their scant clothing to promote their music but like many R&B singers the three members of DC owe a great deal to the Church for their musical upbringing. Although it isn't unusual for church singers to cross over and make secular music, it is a little unusual to find a vocalist in a globally successful band at the peak of her career choosing to make a gospel record. And this isn't something that Michelle has hidden under a bushel either. While recently in America I was watching breakfast television on four channels simultaneously (I am a bloke and I had the remote!) and found Michelle being interviewed and performing on two of the programmes in an up front unashamed manner. It's true that her earliest musical responsibilities were with church groups and she cites a variety of contemporarygospel artists as inspiration for her singing so there's no real need to doubt the sincerity of her faith but what's 'Heart To Yours' really like? Actually, it's a little tamer musically than DC's albums which is a bit of a shame. Can you imagine something as delightfully funky as that with a gospel message? Sadly that's not the case though the quality is superb throughout. I guess you could say it isn't worse, just different. There are plenty of highlights here and Michelle's soulful laid back vocals are delicious throughout. Another thing that separates her from a lot of artists "going gospel" is that for the main she is performing original material including half a dozen songs she penned herself. Favourites have to be the slow ballad "Heard A Word" where she sings of her changed life and then there's the catchy "So Glad", a duet (tri-et?) with Mary Mary which is solidly funky. The guest list is pretty impressive with gospel group Men Of Standard and Shirley Caesar making an appearance. (The Caesar track has already appeared on her recent 'Hymns' album.) There's a duet with soul singer Carl Thomas where the pair revive the old BeBe & CeCe classic, "Heaven". Her "sisters" in Destiny's Child join her for an acappella gospel medley. Ultimately I think the uncompromising ballad "Change The World" is my favourite with its message of the individual having a destiny to change the world rather than being changed by the world. An apt message for a child of destiny, don't you think?
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