This songbird isn’t just another pretty voice looking to the guys for direction. Writing, producing and playing most of her own material, Ste-vie Wonder’s former background vocalist has already hooked the R&B world with a siring of hi Is, not to men-lion production and songwriting credits on albums by Sheena Easton, the Isley Brothers and Janet Jackson.
Now Winbush wants the rest of pop’s universe to sing along to her third solo release. Bui they’ll probably have trouble keeping up. Even without the pyrotechnic overdrive of her previous work, Winbush’s octave-bounding chops could charm listeners jaded by too much Patti LaBelle. Whether climbing to a siren wail or slithering down to a husky growl, Angela sounds so relaxed she could have sent these Valentines from the Jacuzzi.
For the first time since her ’80s gig as half the R&B duo of Rene and Angela, Winbush has collaborated with outside producers and songwriters. Their input makes for some of the album’s brightest spots: note the stirring revival of Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues,” coproduced by Angela’s new husband and “Baby Hold On” duet partner, Ronald Isley. But even if love makes her knees wobble, Winbush is still the boss: “I would never leave you…until you gave me a reason to,” she declares on the slow-funking lead single “Treat U Rite.” Now that’s control. (Elektra)