Naked Without You

Taylor Dayne

Neptune / River North Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Pity poor Taylor Dayne. Back in the late 1980s, she had the diva market almost completely to herself. Songs like "Tell It To My Heart" and "With Every Beat Of My Heart" won over fans with their danceable rhythms, and for a time, it seemed like Dayne would be the name to remember. Then, Mariah Carey came along, and the rest was history.

These days, Dayne might seem like a name from the past. But on her latest release Naked Without You, she proves that she still has the power to deliver a great song, even if she still holds onto the dance mix idea, something I think she should let go of.

Admittedly, it takes some time to get used to Dayne's style of singing. Part torch singer, part Patti LaBelle, her vocal style is uniquely her own. Tracks like "Whenever You Fall" highlight the special nuances of her singing, while others like "Don't Make Me Love You" aren't the best vehicles for her.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I also detected a hidden dance beat in "Don't Make Me Love You" - but not to worry, 'cause the dance mix hits full time on songs like "Stand". With all due respect to Dayne, I would give up the dream of regaining the disco diva throne; frankly, songs like those don't demonstrate the true power of her voice.

Instead, songs like the title track, "Whatever You Want," "There Is No Heart That Won't Heal" and "Whenever You Fall" are proof positive that fans of adult contemporary - hell, even Top 40 - have been missing out on a lot of great work since all but abandoning Dayne in the first half of the '90s. Dayne has spent this time honing her craft, and she shows on tracks like these that the effort has been well worth it. (The question, of course, is whether or not radio will have the courage to pick up on one or two of these - and I have no knowledge of whether one of these tracks has been pushed by River North as a single. If it were up to me, I'd push "Whenever You Fall", and market it as a song with incredible A/C potential. Just a little free marketing advice from yours truly.)

Although I was only casually familiar with Dayne's earlier work, I found myself listening to Naked Without You several times to make sure that this was indeed the same artist. It was also because some of the material on this album is that strong and addictive; like the potato chip commercial, you can't just listen to this one once. (Oh, please don't sue...)

Of course, if you're a fan of dance music, you'll disagree with me when I say that the songs that have the obvious dance flavors and beats are the weak links in the chain here. Also, I have to admit that Dayne's choice of "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" as the oldie to resurrect is a curious one, and I'm not completely convinced that her version captured something new.

Enough with the rhetoric; is Naked Without You a decent album? Yes; without question, Dayne shows often not only the skills that made her a star in the late '80s but that she has had them all along, even when the market forgot about her. If she can put the dance music of her past out to pasture, I believe she will find new life in the adult contemporary market - that is, if there's any justice in this business.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Neptune / River North Records, and is used for informational purposes only.