Album of the Week: Sonique's Hear My Cry

Sonique is best known for the hit, "It Feels So Good," which both begins and anchors her debut, Hear My Cry. When the album dropped in 2000, teen-pop with strong dance and R and B influences was ruling the charts,  not to mention a vibrant soul revival. Sonique's album is an interesting marriage of these trends. It has a brooding, soulful undertone but (at its best) pulses along at a lively pace with inspired dance settings and some good hooks; the hit intro track and her "I Put a Spell on You" cover are good examples. As the record wears on, things begin to blend together because the tracks step deeper and deeper into club material ("Cold and Lonely," "Move Closer"). The middle stretch of the album becomes more of a mood piece meant for mindless dancing rather than singing along. However, smartly, Sonique bookends the album with more solid pop songs: the energetic "Love is On Our Side" and the gospel-like "Sky," before closing the LP with a sleepy ballad, "Learn to Forget." Hear My Cry is uneven and dated by its production; yet, its pop moments are worth revisiting.

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