September 29, 2003 12:00 PM

Aretha Franklin

She may be worshiped for her oldies, but the Queen of Soul’s new material also deserves R-E-S-P-E-C-T. On the first single, “The Only Thing Missin’,” Franklin’s exuberant delivery perfectly matches the feel-good vibe of the song, which, with its gospel organ and bluesy guitar, recalls the work she did with Curtis Mayfield on 1976’s Sparkle soundtrack. The entire album, refreshingly free of any guest rappers or trendy production, has a warm, classic R&B feel. Even Franklin’s two jazz-kissed collaborations with hip-hop soul diva Mary J. Blige sound as if they could have been recorded in the ’70s.


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