We gave it a C+
Mica Paris Contribution (Island; all formats; 68) The music of Mica Paris works better when you don’t listen too closely. It’s background music best suited to those moments when you’re all primed to jump someone’s bones. Like Paris’ 1988 debut, her latest creation, Contribution, is an over-perfumed assortment of sensually paced funk-soul numbers, feminized even further by its smooth adult-pop production. True, the album makes a sharper impression than the 22- year-old British singer’s first (a hit in her own country). This time the rhythm section gets far greater play in the mix, stressing the buoyant bass and firm drum programming. Unfortunately, the keyboards and horns — plus the understated way the singer uses her skilled and flexible voice — put a dull sheen on everything. It doesn’t help that the material is so routine. Even a number specifically written for Paris by Prince (”If I Love U 2 Nite”) sounds rote. Producers Andres Levin and Camus Mare Celli try to spice things up with a cameo from rapper Rakim on one number and some keyboard effects from hip-hopper Mantronik on another, but the result is as incongruous as matching downtown accessories to an uptown outfit. Played down low, however, such things can be ignored, and the album then finds its rightful place: in the boudoir.