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I Wish You Love
label: BMG / Logic
our score: 3.5 out of 5.0
Gloria Gaynor is one of the few disco-era singers
who can be called an Icon, albeit mostly for one song. But what
a song! "I Will Survive" (VH1's "Greatest Dance
Song of All Time") is certainly monolithic -- it's been recorded
231 different times -- but it's a tragedy that most people don't
know more about the song's original singer. Has everyone forgotten
her version of "Never Can Say Goodbye"?
With this new album, which could fairly be called
a "comeback" record, Gaynor had several different options.
She could have gone for indie cred and recorded edgy freaky stuff;
imagine that beautiful voice on an Alec Empire track, or duetting
with Kool Keith! She could have gone jazz (she's got the chops)
or easy listening (ditto). She could have even gone extra-campy
and done a "Disco Redux" project, mining her reputation
and the pockets of her biggest fans.
she's chosen the third path on I Give You Love. This
is a discofied r&b album with a savvy sense of modern technology.
Most of the songs here follow the general template of "All
the Man": simple, mellow dance music with one foot in the
70s (lush synth strings, loping Philly bass) and the other in
the now (hip-hop production techniques, house music song structures).
Gaynor's voice floats above these uptempo numbers the same way
it did almost thirty years ago: rich, full, prettier than it has
a right to be. The rest of the album finds her in ballad-mode;
songs like "I Never Knew" (the first single) and "Let
It Rain" are slow-jam fodder of the first order.
It isn't a very challenging album -- some of the
"new" production touches here sound like my favorite
Cathy Dennis and Dancin' Danny D albums from the early 1990s --
but it's solid and fun. And Gaynor has a couple of tricks up her
sleeve yet; the title track is pleasantly modern electrofunk,
and "Stronger" features a steamy GG vocal -- both tracks
are anchored by producer Rob Fusari's Timbaland-ish bounce, and
both sound very up-to-date indeed.
Give You Love is a very credible r&b dance album for
adults. It might reestablish Gaynor as an important singer who
deserves her second-act success. Its lack of rough edges (and
lyrical slackness) might be a problem for some people, though.
Bonus points for the bonus disc, which features two live versions
of "I Will Survive" (one in Spanglish), and a Hex Hector
remix of "I Never Knew," which pumps up the jam quite
liked I Wish You Love...
1. Gotta Be Forever
2. Gone Too Long
3. Just No Other Way
4. I Never Knew
5. All the Man
6. Just Keep Thinking About you
7. I Wish You Love
9. Let It Rain
10. No One Can Love You More
11. You Keep Running
12. I'm Here For You
1. I Will Survive (Live English Version)
2. I Never Knew (Hex Hector HQ2 Remix)
3. I Will Survive (Live Spanglish version)