December 12, 1994 12:00 PM

Vanessa Williams

Williams keeps piling up those appellations. Most recently the beauty queen-actress-pop star has added the label Broadway sensation (for Kiss of the Spider Woman) and now chanteuse. Only one song here, “The Way That You Love Me,” has a truly contemporary feel and beat. The rest are imbued with timeless maturity and sophistication.

Of course, Williams has already proved her ability to handle stately ballads (her “Save the Best for Last” was nominated for a Grammy last year). She exercises that flair adroitly on the title track, and is equally impressive on the more brisk and exotic “Betcha Never.” But while her voice is sweet and clear, it lacks the coloratura to carry off more complex, demanding material, such as the languorous jazz-vamp, “Sister Moon,” written by Sting.

Still, for Williams to don the restrictive, old-fashioned attire of a torch singer at this stage in her career is daring. Add one more designation to her ever-expanding resume: risk taker. (Wing/Mercury)

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