August 06, 1990 12:00 PM

Meli’sa Morgan

Sinead O’Connor isn’t the only singer to use a Prince song as a springboard to notoriety. Morgan did it with “Do Me Baby” in 1986. Her third album, however, lacks another boon from the funk sovereign or, for that matter, any other musical equivalent of an “Advance to Go” card.

While Morgan’s vocals are lively and Attala Zane Giles’s production is brisk and punchy, the overall impression left by such up-tempo songs as “Can You Give Me What I Want?” and “Stop Love and Listen” is oddly sterile, the most heinous transgression in R&B. “You Belong to Me” is earthier, but it doesn’t really grab the gold ring either, resembling instead, as do a number of songs here, Chaka Khan canned. The best offerings are the ballads “Don’t You Know,” “I’m Better Now” and “Wrong Lane,” on which Morgan’s voice gets an opportunity to smolder and glow.

The singer indulges in a lot of the type of between-song filler Janet Jackson did on Control. That affectation is probably supposed to convey that this isn’t just a bunch of songs but a thought-out musical manifesto. No di’ce, Meli’sa. Still, the major problem is that The Lady in Me suffers from a paradox: The more festive it tries to be, the more dispirited it seems. (Capitol)

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