While the implied promise of a Kermit the Frog cover goes
unfulfilled, there is a Muppetish quality to many of the selections.
The piano plunks out bright primary colors thick enough for chubby
little hands to grasp. Rollicking sing-along's like the first
single "Dream" invite listener participation, but ultimately
block Ms. Smith from achieving her full potential as a
neo-soul chanteuse. Occasionally the ill-fitting tinker toy arrangements
make way for a brilliant "Gary Song" or "Desert
Song" in which two of Smith's alleged four octaves are evidenced.
(This according to Epic's P.R. lackeys posing as normal blogging
netizens.) Digging down to a sexy Cleopatra Jones' funk,
her vocal control takes precedent over timbre falling somewhere
between Erika Badu and Sade but stamped by her own
unique warble. Slamming American Idolotry, the clever "Fake
Is The New Real" jabs, "Full speed ahead/ rock and roll
is dead/ the girls and boys from the Mickey Mouse Club/ clocked
it in the head." The stretched measures of "Know That
" drag achingly into a rousing stomp. It feels like
the handlers have gotten hold of Ms. Smith, trying too hard to
shape and form her marketable assets. If not, it's too bad, because
the mark has been mostly missed with vocal slides too similar
from song to song and patronizing arrangements. The platform is
too rickety to support such obvious potential.
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