By Ken Tucker
Updated September 14, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Like R&B vocalists from Stevie Wonder to Al Green, Kenny ”Babyface” Edmonds can take bland or treacly material — here, for example, James Taylor’s ”Fire and Rain” — and render it superior to the original with delicate or atypical phrasing plus sheer commitment. Passion, not laid-backness, rules on Playlist, a set of originals and covers. Sometimes Babyface’s take is equal to the singer’s (Bob Dylan’s ”Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”). Less successful: the fussy arrangements on cringers like Jim Croce’s ”Time in a Bottle.” B
DOWNLOAD THIS Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

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