April 03, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST

Funky Divas

Current Status
In Season
We gave it a B-

Remember when the Shangri-Las and the Ronettes ruled the top 10? Well, once again there’s a mini-industry in carefully packaged and marketed all-girl vocal groups; only the sound has changed. Like two similar outfits, the Cover Girls and Seduction, En Vogue delivers flirtatious R&B set to a mechanized beat. They’re also scripted to their plucked eyebrows, from the ”dressing-room chatter” (”Can I use your base?”) that opens their new, second album, Funky Divas, to the sexy choruses that chime in like clockwork. That said, the four sweet-voiced members of En Vogue are versatile enough to handle reggae-, gospel- and doo-wop-tinted dance music with game if not very deep enthusiasm. Still, Funky Divas has an awkward charm, especially on ”It Ain’t Over Till the Fat Lady Sings,” a shameless defense of the girls’ fame, and ”What Is Love,” in which they archly recite dictionary definitions of the word. En Vogue may end up a bonus question in music-trivia books of the year 2000, but in the meantime they’re dancing all the way to the bank.

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