Laura Branigan, who gained international fame nine years ago with her signature song “Gloria,” has proven herself musically resilient if not always constant. Her music, which appeals to all ages despite its adult contemporary labeling, has gone through several stylistic changes within the last few years, and she continues to emerge as a post-disco prototype. Her albums have always consisted of one or two competent dance tunes, surrounded by hopelessly mediocre love songs that rely heavily on her emotive voice for viability.
Unfortunately, Branigan’s histrionics can be annoying, to say the least, and are often implemented in the wrong places. Her last studio album, “Tough” (1987), is an excellent example of her artistic overindulgence, even though that musical effort was supported by effectively visual lyrics. Her new, self-titled album may lack lyrical strength, but it does have a unified sound.
Branigan, thankfully, veers away from the vocal rollercoaster ride, and plays it straight.
Of course, no Laura Branigan album would be complete without a few gut-wrenching octave slides, but at least here they’re done appealingly. Once again, her most impressive songs are dance-oriented, such as “Moonlight on Water,” “Bad Attitude,” and “Let Me In.” Her remake of an old disco tune, “Turn the Beat Around,” isn’t particularly inspiring, but it is better than average. The few ballads present, in the midst of an otherwise up-beat collection of music, are disappointing, though Laura does breath life into “Never In A Million Years,” and “The Best Was Yet To Come,” the latter being the better of the two. Elsewhere, Laura’s strong vocals surface effectively, and help make this album her most enjoyable to date.
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