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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Rhian Benson

MUSIC REVIEWS

Rhian Benson-Gold Coast (DKG)

The artist Rhian Benson has been getting most often compared to is Sade.  While there are certainly some surface similarities... they both sing sultry smooth jazz, they were both born in Africa, they are both striking women... in the long run I think that to compare Rhian Benson to Sade is selling Benson short.  Honestly, I greatly prefer Benson's debut album to the chilly jazz-lite that has been Sade Adu's stock-in-trade for all these years.  Rhian Benson is hot where Sade is cold.  Rhian Benson is passionate where Sade is distant.  And, frankly, the songs are just better.

The album starts off on sure footing with the stunningly sultry "Words Hurt Too," where Benson mourns the destruction that spiteful language can impart on a relationship.  Benson's voice oozes over a subtle bed of saxophone and shuffling percussion in a lovely retro-sounding production.  She follows up with "Say How I Feel," a swooning, whispered pastiche of 70s soul jams. 

"The One" is the kind of gorgeously swaying soulful song that Whitney Houston should be singing now in order to get her career back on track, and with any radio play at all Benson's version could become an adult contemporary smash.  Her songwriting can get reduced to the basics in the haunting simple groove of "Soul Boy," or she can take chances like the African vibe of "Spirit."

All in all, Gold Coast is a very impressive debut album that doesn't need or deserve to be compared to anything else.  (5/04)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2004 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: May 23, 2004.

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Copyright 2004 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: May 23, 2004.