Beverley Knight's fourth album Affirmation
is worthy of her reputation as Britain's premier soul and R&B performer. A progression from her last album, Who I Am
, here there is a great selection of songs with lively, dynamic arrangements. The instant highlight is opening track and lead single "Come as You Are" cowritten with Robbie Williams' ex-partner Guy Chambers, and is a rocky power-soul number à la Tina Turner. It begins with a catchy melody that builds into a crescendo of drums, guitars and swirling organs backing Knight's impassioned, world-class vocals.
The rest of Affirmation is a little more subdued but no less accomplished. "Supasonic" is a fresh-sounding homage to the purple Prince--funky, catchy with a great melody and guitar hook that sucks you in. On the gentler side, "No One ever Loves in Vain", another song with Chambers, is soulful, stripped-down and slinky with a lush piano complimenting Knight perfectly. A few songs such as "Keep the Fire Burning" and the title track are more contemporary R&B-influenced but not overtly poppy as to cheapen the rest of the of the album. It's this diversity with taste that makes Affirmation another great album from the UK's soul queen. --Georgina Collins
BEVERLEY KNIGHT - AFFIRMATION CD 14 TRACKS (61091)