December 10, 1984 12:00 PM

Chaka Khan

It may mean something that Khan is practically a bystander on the title track, which is by far the liveliest on the album. Producer Arif Mardin and bassist Reggie Griffin came up with an ingenious arrangement of the Prince tune, mixing a rap by Grandmaster Melle Mel, some all-out, stop-the-world harmonica backing by Stevie Wonder, Mardin’s turntable tricks and Griffin’s bass fills. Khan’s vocal is routine by comparison. The nondescript nature of the rest of the LP may be due to the fact that it is another one of those multiproducer projects, involving Rickie Lee Jones’ producer James Newton Howard, the ubiquitous David Foster and Hawk Wolinski, Khan’s old bandmate with Rufus. Chaka herself comes across with some tinges of emotion on Through the Fire. But one can listen to this album for a long time and still not feel she is making any impact. (Warner Brothers)

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