It's a smooth slice of seduction that does what it says on the tin.
Angus Taylor 2008-09-26
When an artist returns from an extended vacation, their fans tend to react in two distinct ways. Some are so glad to have their idol back that they'll look for the best in whatever is offered, whereas others build their expectations toward inevitable disappointment. Chanté Moore's fifth album, Love The Woman, released after nearly a decade away from solo recording, is likely to provoke a bit of both.
Though Chanté didn't write most of the songs for Love The Woman, it's not fanciful to suggest many were chosen for their relevance to her life and very public marriage to singer Kenny Lattimore. As such, compromise and compliance form the bedrock of her relationship advice. The opener, Always Gonna Be Something, asks her audience to be pragmatic about their partnerships, as they, like life, will never be perfect; Do For You finds her in the kitchen saying, ''I don’t need a reason, I'm just into pleasin'''. After dinner she moves to the bedroom for the title track, co-written with producer Jamey Jaz, and while the backing vocal lyrics do read like an instruction manual, it's a smooth slice of seduction that does what it says on the tin.
Moore has also put her vaunted five-octave range to songs made famous by others. The Raphael Saadiq produced Special, pairs the same Rhodes piano used for Sara Devine's version (famously remixed by Louie Vega) with Moore's understated voice for a respectable (but not superior) counterpart cut. She also reinterprets two jazz classics: a less feisty more beguiling take on Nancy Wilson's Guess Who I Saw Today (with extended coda) and a piano led rendition of Minnie Ripperton's Give Me Time, produced by her mentor George Duke, and closed in the same whistle-tone style.
The album's mastering is a little loud for its delicate arrangements. Nonetheless Love The Woman is a relaxed and comfortable (rather than a triumphant) return. It's The sound of a singer easing her way back into her spot in the R&B marketplace, instead of pushing to the front of the line.