Kristine W - Fly Again - Pop hell

2006-03-29 18:39
Perhaps a brief background biography can help. Back in the mid-90s Kristine was an ex-Miss America wannabe who made something of a name for herself with her polished contemporary R&B diva house recipe despite some standard club dance pop production on Land of the Living (1996) and Stronger (2000). Which makes it all the more problematic that her latest offering seems to date from way back when.

Fly Again is a seriously unchallenging Euro-dance mishmash where double cheeseburger dripping doses of keyboards and post-production studio gimmicks only serves to reinforce the fast food mood. With saccharine lyrical messages ("The Wonder of It All") being the order of the day the groove moves through a series of faux-R&B club jams ("Broken") that seem to suggest that banal hypnosis is enough to keep your booty shaking. And just when you think Kristine maybe onto something with a smouldering old school soul piano ballad intro on "Living out Loud" a seriously phat snyth-bass burp shape shifts the beat back into four to the floor mode.

Actually it's all too hideously Hi-NRG with repetitively bouncy throwaway fare ("All that Really Matters", "Crazy Life") struggling to keep any listener's attention span. Sure the sassy street funk ("Letting Go"), moody smooth jazzy mid-tempo shuffle ("Bittersweet") or toe-tapping retro R&B excursions ("Big Big Band") do occasionally flow but these are invariably overshadowed by an obsession with bland disco-mutation. But what about the 2nd disc of Chris Cox's "continuous mix" featuring extended mixes and remixes? Well 44 minutes of reverb delayed choruses, high on the happy side layered house grooves and sci-fi synthesiser swathes just doesn't cut it. And just what Ms. W is doing on prestigious rap label Tommy Boy remains utterly perplexing.

An opening title track struts along to an unmistakably retro-disco bass funk groove with soulful vocals soaring in and around layers of synthesiser soaked house swathes. Sure, it sounds like an instant dance floor anthem that's sassy and sexy...but as the mood moves into gear you can't escape being reminded of the sterilised vocoder vocal soar of say, Cher ("I'll Be your Light") and well, a bunch of other far less distinctive divas. After all, who the hell is Kristine W anyway?

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