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Lisa Stansfield
THE GREATEST HITS
(ARISTA)

Stars graphics

Although the release of a greatest-hits collection usually means the end of the line ó and Lisa Stansfield may well be no exception ó the 17 songs featured here deserve to be hits again. From the end of the Diana Ross era to the beginning of the Beyoncé Knowles period, Stansfield wielded the purest, most romantically convincing soul soprano in pop music; when she was fortunate enough to be accompanied by a magic melody or a catchy house-music rhythm, as in " All Around the World, " " You Canít Deny It, " " Change, " and " This Is the Right Time, " she didnít just persuade, she commanded. Still, her singing, so deeply influenced by the lush, crooned flatteries of Barry White (the CD includes her version of his " Never Gonna Give You Up " ), lacked the eruptive energy that lifts the best female soul vocals. She sounded comfortable rather than heated ó never out of bounds. Here she sounds most torrid on " Time To Make You Mine, " a ballad in which she turns herself almost totally on ó but still not quite.

BY MICHAEL FREEDBERG

Issue Date: May 2 - 8, 2003
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