April 28, 1986 12:00 PM


Vanity’s voice is usually buried under so much overproduction it’s impossible to tell if—let alone how well—she is singing. The effect is about the same as trying to determine the quality of the fourth singer from the left in the seventh row of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Say this for her: She is never guilty of being prissy. On this, her second solo album, she sings the lines, “A physical safari/ When I hear your mating call/ Peculiar positions/ Make me scream for more.” Then there’s “You’ve got me under the influence/ Of the four-letter word on my mind.” (So what is it, Vanity? Cake? Book? Nice?) And let’s not forget “When you kiss me, when you love me/ Oooh, you make me….” On second thought, let’s do forget it. All this might be forgivable if, on those rare occasions when Vanity exposes her voice (Romantic Voyage on this album, for instance), she showed some improvement in her ability to deploy her not inconsiderable singing talent. Unlike her mentor, Prince, however, Vanity does not display nearly as much musical sense as she does attitude. (Motown)

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