We gave it a B
Safire, queen of the black/Hispanic hybrid called Latin hip-hop, has been dismissed as a Madonna clone, but at least she knows which Madonna to imitate. With her throaty, husky sob of a voice, Safire sounds eerily like the Madonna of such early singles as ”Lucky Star,” a combination of young urban desire and bubbly innocence. But where Ms. Ciccone now makes self-consciously mature records, Safire and her producers aren’t ashamed to submerse themselves in teen-lust techno-pop. Her second album, I Wasn’t Born Yesterday, leaves the tentative feel of her 1988 debut album, Safire, in the drum-machine dust. From the ’70s Eurodisco locomotive ”Shame” to the vacuum-packed synthesizers that propel the single ”Made Up My Mind,” Yesterday is the sound of heartbreak at its most eternal, relentless, and unrequited. Like her earlier record, this album slips when it tries for maximum crossover appeal, courtesy of a few ballads aimed at the adult-contemporary market. The only crossover Safire should worry about is running from one futile romance to another.