September 01, 1997 12:00 PM

Lisa Stansfield

For many pop fans, Stansfield’s name still conjures up memories of her long-gone spit curl and her retro-sounding 1990 hit “All Around the World.” With her new Vogue-ready look and up-to-the-second R&B sound, the blue-eyed, soulful British singer clearly has moved on, but in pivotal ways her approach is unchanged. She sticks with her conversational, unaffected vocal style on this, her first U.S. album in more than five years, singing circles around the wah-wah-spiked melodies of “Never Gonna Fall” and “The Real Thing” without resorting to gut-busting theatrics. Tuning in to silky ballads like “Somewhere in Time” and “Footsteps,” one gets the impression that she’s singing to an actual person and not just a cold, lifeless microphone. Her peers should listen and learn. (Arista)

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