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Tropic of Love

JC Lodge’s sultry ”Telephone Love” breezed through radio in ’88 and became the first huge club hit from Jamaica since Bob Marley’s death. With that song, the London-born Lodge put Jamaica’s current ”dance-hall” style on the map in this country — though her smooth, sexy tone didn’t necessarily reflect the rootsy style of most dance-hall music. None of her first four solo records, no matter how full of mellow love songs — vocally she’s Jamaica’s Anita Baker — ever took off here. Now, with this one, her fifth (and her first to be widely distributed) she has taken a more polished turn. Her vocals — ranging from the jazzy cool of Sade (on ”Home Is Where the Hurt Is,” the first single) to the sultry sound of a sex kitten (on ”Prey,” which kicks off with the theme from Mission: Impossible) swell over a sea of seductive rhythms, accented with snare drums, echoing ”dub”-style bass lines, and catchy hooks. On nearly every track, she sings a warm, even steamy tune. A-

Tropic of Love
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