July 16, 2001 12:00 PM

Luther Vandross (J)

Album of the week

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Luther Vandross could sing the phone book and make it sound like pure poetry, but even he hasn’t been able to rescue the lackluster material he has been saddled with in recent years. With his new disc, though, Vandross has finally come up with a collection of songs worthy of his silky, elastic tenor.

Sounding as robust as ever despite having dropped 120 lbs. since his last album, 1998’s I Know, Vandross works his seductive spells on sensitive slow jams such as “Like I’m Invisible,” “Love Forgot” and the shattering “Hearts Get Broken All the Time (But the Problem Is, This Time It’s Mine).” And he puts his inimitable mark on sophisticated covers of such 1960s tunes as Chuck Jackson’s “Any Day Now” and Dionne Warwick’s “Are You There.”

Bottom Line: Vintage Vandross

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