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Picks and Pans Review: More

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R&B

Tamia

Currently Tamia is warming up audiences for Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Missy Elliott on the Ladies First Tour. The R & B songstress’s latest demonstrates why she is still an opening act who is not in those other ladies’ league. Tamia’s third album, while a serviceable set, ultimately leaves you wanting More as she continues to play it safe. Formulaic hip-hoppish numbers, such as “On My Way” and the title track, feature the obligatory guest rappers (including Fabolous) in an attempt to boost Tamia’s street cred. She’s better off enlisting Gerald Levert to sing the inspired duet “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” a soulful reworking of the 1970 Carpenters hit. Tamia also excels on other ballads like the Babyface-written “Smile” and the luxurious single “Questions,” which was written and produced by R. Kelly. Lyrically, though, these tracks cover the usual romantic ups and downs. Which may explain why Tamia, who is battling multiple sclerosis, saves her most spirited performance for the inspirational gospel finale “Tomorrow,” ending the CD on an emotional high.