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A Womans Love by Vaneese Thomas

Vaneese Thomas claims an R & B and Soul pedigree that is worthy of any singer. Rufus Thomas of Stax is her dad, and her sister soul-legend Carla Thomas. Her voice shows evidence of both these great singers. However, her performance does not quite match her potential talent.

A Woman’s Love is basically a light R & B offering. All but one song could be considered "groove". The first thing that strikes the listener is the sameness of this groove feeling throughout the album. Although presented with different tempos, the styles are similar if not identical. The bass offers simple beats (with no walking lines or complex rhythms), the drums offer little more than steady eighth notes, and the keyboard is consistently a piano/strings combo - which provides little, if any, excitement.

Also lacking in excitement is Ms. Thomas’ voice. Although it is good, it is not great, and she has problems in the upper and lower registers, which provides for a somewhat flat listening experience. It is even perplexing at times, that one can hear Ms. Thomas singing more emphatically, but her voice does not get louder. Inversely, even on slower tunes, Ms. Thomas does not effectively use the softness in her tender voice successfully.

Finally, and perhaps most objectionable is the lyrical content on most of her songs. She sings like she is a love-starved teenager waiting for love to come along and make her happy. It is text more akin to Britney Spears or some other pop sensation with a target audience who is fifteen years old. For instance, in "Fortune" she uses the tired cliché that money can’t buy happiness. Later in the song she even states "Everyone knows . . ." Well, yes, everyone knows, no need to write a four-minute song about it. In other songs she expresses a feeling of helplessness to love and those she loves. Repeatedly she expresses the idea of "can’t help this feeling" and similar ideas. This is good fodder for shallower types of music, but nothing worthy of anything calling itself "soul".

There are, however, many high points on the album. The title track is a beautiful classic soul ballad. Ms. Thomas sings it excellently; the band is exciting, and the lyrics enticing. It reminds one of the era of blues and soul. The following track is also very good. "Dear John" is about a woman’s agonizing decision to leave her man even though she doesn’t want to. It expresses maturity and a truly wise thought-process. One wishes the whole album was like these two songs.

Ms. Thomas presents an album here with many likely singles for the R & B world. However, to listen to song after song about heartbreak, unrequited love, and pining away after a single encounter is to say the least tiresome. A Woman’s Love shows great potential for Ms. Thomas, but little more.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Vaneese Thomas
  • CD Title: A Womans Love
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Segue Records
  • Rating: Three Stars
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