What You See Is What You Sweat

Just because Aretha Franklin has a voice magnificent enough to sing the phone book doesn’t mean she should. The two best cuts on What You See Is What You Sweat, this typically uneven effort from Lady Soul are a feisty, club-ready Sly Stone remake (”Everyday People”) and a dramatic number from Les Misérables (”I Dreamed A Dream”). But these gems are set in a schizoid mix of mediocre material that includes the pointless, chirpy ”Mary Goes Round” and the pop-soul fluff of the title song. (And what does that title mean, anyway?) In what has become a rule of thumb for black pop, there are too many producers (here, eight for 10 cuts) tampering with Aretha’s talents. Her duet with Luther Vandross (”Doctor’s Orders”) is so cluttered with synthesizers you can barely hear the two masters. And when she teams with soul man wannabe Michael McDonald, the result sounds like a soundtrack for a daytime soap. It’s only when Franklin herself seizes the reins on ”You Can’t Take Me for Granted” that the music is a match for her voice. C+

What You See Is What You Sweat
  • Music