Traces Of My Lipstick (SoSo Def Records)
By: Sylvia White
The ladies of Xscape are back and in a good way! These ladies have always had a certain place in my heart due their vocals as a group. This being their third album is an album in which they have gained a more mature sound along with what seems to be better suited material. I am guessing that super producer Jermaine Dupree (J.D.) may have finally learned a bit of something about growing with his artists. The entire album is laced with songs that are of a romantic and soothing tone, instead of the "what I wanna do to you", snatch and grab tracks that have graced their former albums.
On "My Little Secret" the ladies stick to the R&B tip with an easy-does it tune that talks about infidelity. With street edge and J.D.'s usual additional phrasing's this is a solid tune that should do well on the urban radio stations with it's release. "Softest Place On Earth" is a great ballad in which the leader of the group, Tocha, takes her time on delivery and expression. Very smooth and definitely soothing to the ear. "Do You Know" is a track that gives Xscape more of their urban phlavor and noted edge over other girl groups, thanks to J.D.
On "One Of Those Love Songs", Kandi with her distinctive vocals takes the lead here on a song that is well-suited for the late night listeners. A sweet tune. "The Arms Of The One Who Loves You" written by Diane Warren, writer extrordinaire, is the first single release from this album. The audience finds this tune bathed in great strings, wonderful harmonies and lyrics that touch the heart. "I Will" is a track that once again finds the ladies telling of another love saga with a small bit of edgy quality, it is somewhat raw. "All I Need" is a really nice track that has the ladies harmonizing beautifully with very little background effects, thereby having their voices come to the forefront and giving their true talents a chance to be heard. I like this track a great deal.
"Am I Dreaming" in which the ladies hook up with newcomer's "Ol Skool" off the Universal label, is such a great remake of an Atlantic Star classic. I really enjoy this tune still and it continues to showcases the talents of both groups.
This entire album gets a well-rounded 4 from me. It is nice to see the ladies come back with a more mature sound and songs that romance the listener. I still would like to hear something a bit more unique from them but as long as the harmonies, strings and vocal abilities are there I am satisfied. Pick up the album and see if they ladies have what it takes to be deemed one of the better female groups of the 90's.