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Tamia: Beautiful Surprise

Plus 1 Music Group

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Vacillating between bright pop and go-for-broke rebel yells, Tamia's willingness to pursue so many lackluster directions is surprising after the refined signature sound she showcased on 2006's Between Friends. No longer the pristine vocal princess, there are now mature colors, shades, and an ugly-cry richness to an instrument once known for its high crystalline quality. Unfortunately, this compelling vocal palette is buried under paint-by-numbers adult contemporary production that is too often distinguished by the lack of originality. This powerhouse's heartfelt delivery deserves fresher arrangements and more inventive production than provided by such collaborators as the Runners. Tamia's talent on gems like "Because of You" and "Still Love You" are the only real beautiful surprises here. (2 out of 5 stars)

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