Queen Latifah introduces another side of herself in her new album, The Dana Owens Album. To represent this “coming out” of sorts, she uses her real name in the title. On this album, Latifah shows her jazz, pop, R&B and big band influences. Give her credit for trying something new, but Dana Owens falls short of being a turning point in her career. All of Latifah’s songs are covers of older jazz, R&B or pop hits. Greats such as Herbie Hancock, James Moody and Al Greene are featured, but even these legends fail to rescue this album.

Eston Bond

The lone star on this CD is a cover of The Mamas and The Papas’ “California Dreamin’.” Latifah manages to pull off a decent jazz version of this song. Her sultry take on it makes the classic seem sexy and innovative. Her voice is well suited to this track, even though it takes a little while to get used to.

Most people are surprised that Queen Latifah can sing. Even though the rest of the songs are, quite frankly, terrible, Latifah’s rich, warm voice elevates them. Her stylistic performance on The Dana Owens Album is a revelation that proves her as a songstress. Although her voice shines, it does nothing to improve the quality of the songs. This album is just a lackluster attempt at originality.

An owner of a restaurant might find this CD as nice background music that his diners can zone out of their mind. Everyone else would find this album a waste of money. The only successful song, “California Dreamin’,” in no way makes up for the blandness of The Dana Owens Album.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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