In glancing at the CD booklet included with Every Woman Dreams, a certain reality immediately comes to mind: sex sells. And while we’ve all been bashed over the head with this clichéd idiom more times than we’d like to remember, rarely is it truer than in the world of hip-hop and R&B.
Not surprisingly, the folks at Playtyme Entertainment and RHM Management have taken this philosophy strictly to heart. With a press packet composed of four full-page glossy glamour shots, and an exceptionally racy album cover, it is apparent they are more interested in selling Shanice’s image than her art. Yet the veteran diva does have some talent, most notably her five-octave vocal range which she occasionally uses to add an attractive dynamic to the album. On “Take Care Of U,” for instance, Shanice shows off her delicate falsetto with a flair rivaled only by the late Minnie Riperton. However, when she covers Riperton’s signature piece, “Loving You,” her well-intentioned rendition comes off as a bland attempt to reach a new fanbase.
In fact, the entire album seems to be a contrived and fluffy version of what R&B should be. While occasional rhythms stand out, like the lush horns of “Things In The Movies,” or the acoustic guitar and warm bassline of “Crazy For U,” most songs simply blend together, leaving the listener thoroughly unfulfilled. Even worse, some tracks are manufactured attempts at club hits, and significantly drag the album down. Specifically, the club-oriented “Get Up” sports a boring Indian beat, and “So Sexy” unsuccessfully borrows its style from the crunk movement. Unsurprisingly, Shanice sounds uncomfortable on these songs, and their inclusion noticeably detracts from her album’s continuity.
Although the aging songstress possesses an uncommon ability to sing, her talents are misused on Every Woman Dreams. Shanice could have utilized her excellent voice to create a soulful collection of songs, but chose instead to follow the cookie-cutter formula of a typical R&B album. What a veteran like Shanice should realize is that while sex does sell, she can only achieve long lasting success if her product is good enough to stand on its own.