On her latest release, Everlasting Love, pop diva Vanessa Williams, grows into her age. In this mature outing, Williams boldly sidesteps the bloated and predictable production of her peers in favor of more old-fashioned sensibilities. She intelligently opts for a smoother musical approach that highlights vocal restraint instead of excess. The overall feel of the album is a throwback to the type of R&B popular throughout the early ’90s. At times, the prominent bass in the backing can sound dated, but Williams’s spin on it is enticing and seductive. With Everlasting Love, Vanessa Williams has produced an album that is simultaneously refreshing and nostalgic.
Instead of attacking the listener with the soaring crescendos that Whitney Houston was once famous for, Williams uses the subtleties of her voice to make a tantalizing sound. By not attempting to cover six octaves in a single bar (take that, Mariah Carey), Williams stays comfortably within her range. This gives the album a relaxing feel, yet when Williams does come out with a bursting verse late in the song, it still induces goosebumps.
The idea of love is brought to the forefront on one of the album’s standout tracks, “Let’s Love,” a retro groove that places a huge emphasis on Williams’s vocals and showcases her greatest strengths as a vocalist. She teases and tweaks all through this song, with the tiny quirks of her voice adding a dynamic layer to a fairly standard track. As she plods through lines that could suffer from clich