Tracie Spencer

Capitol Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


As much as I try to keep a well-rounded view of the music scene today, it's hard (if not impossible) for one person to keep up with the developments in every single music genre. Unfortunately, one of the genres I don't spend nearly as much time with as I'd like to is R&B. It's one thing to keep one's finger on the pulse of the music; sometimes, I feel like all I'm doing at times is making sure this genre still has a pulse.

But when I do delve into the scene and discover an artist like Tracie Spencer, I'm usually blown away. In the case of Spencer's album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Tracie, I got the chance to discover exactly what I've been missing. At times, Spencer reminds me of Celine Dion, and could easily be a challenger for the title of musical diva should any spot on that panel open up unexpectedly. You don't need to be a disciple of R&B to recognize that this is an incredible album.

Spencer's delivery of this material is breathtaking, as songs like "Still In My Heart," "Not Gonna Cry" and "Unbelievable" - easily my favorite song on the album - prove. While some people will probably be a little stunned with Spencer's move to more edgier material than she's tackled before, its selection proves not only that Spencer is up to the challenge of performing it, but excels at the new creative outlet.

Still, the songs that one would expect to be earthshakers really didn't get me quaking. "Nothing Broken But My Heart," written by pop songstress Diane Warren, surprisingly turned out to be just an okay song to my ears; the same went for the first single, "It's All About You (Not About Me)," which was still a decent track, just nothing I would have picked as an instant hit.

In fact, the only real "mistake" I'd knock Spencer for was the introducton of a rap from Sonja Blade on the song "Feelin' You"; while I know that the two musical worlds have crossed paths for some time now, I would have rather heard just Spencer's vocals in this case. One other minor point is that it often seems like Spencer is being primed to challenge Toni Braxton - evidenced in the song "Love To Me," which has more than just a little Braxton-like flavor to it.

Still, Tracie is an album that is pleasing from almost note one to the very end. I might not have known a lot about Spencer and her talents going into this CD, but I can say that if this disc is any indication of her talents, I'll be looking forward to hearing her future discs. For now, though, this one will do quite nicely.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 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 Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.