Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Force Behind the Power
Genres: Pop, R&B
1991 Release On Motown. Now Out Of Print In The USA.
1991 Release On Motown. Now Out Of Print In The USA.
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Diana's Classic Pop Album
M. Edwards | Buckinghamshire United Kingdom | 04/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are times when even a Diva of Diana Ross' standing simply can't win:
When her previous studio album, "Workin' Overtime" was released, the knives were out (particularly in the USA). Some critics accused Diana of trying to keep up with the likes of Janet Jackson, Jody Watley and Paula Abdul. So, Ms Ross chose to concentrate on more familiar music territory with this album release, yet the brickbats and player haters were out again, this time accusing the chanteuse of releasing "blue eyed soul"!
Diana opted to play it safe with this album by NOT following any music trends. She enlisted the services of British producer Peter Asher, with whom she worked with in 1988 - he produced the classic "If We Hold On Together", which went down a storm in Japan - it remained in their top 20 charts for 2 years! Diana also teamed up with James Carmichael and old Motown label mate, Stevie Wonder.
The best way to describe "The Force Behind the Power" is to state what is isn't; it isn't a red hot R&B album, and it was never intended to be. Instead, it's a contemporary collection of pop songs, with occasional R&B moments.
On its release, the album quickly gained platinum status is the UK. It also signalled a magnificent run on the UK pop singles charts for Diana. All 5 singles lifted from the album were hits, and two of them (the beautiful "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" and "One Shining Moment") made the Top 10.
The ballads are outstanding here. The first, "When You Tell Me That You Love Me", took the UK charts by storm, and was held off the #1 slot by "Bohemian Rhapsody", that had been released following the death of Fredi Mercury. It starts of softly, and builds into an emotional crescendo, complete with a rousing electric guitar solo.
"Blame It One the Sun", a Stevie Wonder cover, is also a lovely, poignant track.
"Battlefield" is the rousing, stomping track with traces of that old Supremes'/Holland-Dozier-Holland magic. It was never released as a single, though.
The title track, and uptempo R&B track that was written and produced by Stevie Wonder, is a song with a powerful social message. The rhythm is tight!
My personal favourite track - "One Shining Moment" - is just a pleasant modern pop song, with an easy-on-the ear melody.
"You're Gonna Love It" is the killer R&B track that'll have you shuffling your feet in no time! The album closes with the fabulously sensual duet with Al B Sure, "Not Matter What You Do", which was a hit on the R&B Billboard charts.
The album didn't burn up the Billboard charts, but that is not a true reflection of its quality. The UK and the USA record buyers clearly have different tastes. For example, look at "Missing You" (from the Swept Away Album) - it was a Top Ten US Pop hit (#1 R&B) yet it bombed in the UK.
There's something for everyone here. If this underrated album isn't part of your Ross collection, I suggest that you give it a try.
Diana Ross Returns To Form
Ian Phillips | Bolton, Lancashire, UK | 06/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Diana Ross' recording career had taken a bit of a slide commercially in the late 1980's. The electric Red Hot Rhythm And Blues (1987) went by with barley any acknowledgement whilst the hip-hop sounds on the Workin' Overtime (1989) album was virtually ridiculed. However in 1991 she returned to her passion for love ballads on The Force Behind The Power album which saw Diana Ross zoom back into the Top 10 charts in the U.K and catapulted her back into view with the media.
There were 5 U.K Top 40 entries, two of those going Top 10. The album would be variably produced by James Anthony Carmichael, Stevie Wonder and Diana herself. Apparently she turned to old Motown stable mates Smokey Robinson and the record labels founder, Berry Gordy for inspiration for this studio set which as she quoted herself was because "they know what songs I like singing and know what I sing well". The Force Behind The Power was carefully conceived and stands as one of her most timeless collaborations in the latter-day Ross catlogue.
The breathtakingly beautiful ballad, When You Tell Me That You Love Me was once said by Diana to be a definitive record she would like to be remembered by. Tugging emotivley with the lyrics and the sparse, vibrant orchestrations makes this one of her all-time great ballads. Dianas performance is truly impeccable and magnificent. When You Tell Me That You Love Me raced to No.2, remaining there for weeks on end in the U.K becoming a contender for the U.K christmas No.1 of 1991 but this was narrowly beaten by Queen's classic, Bohemian Rhapsody which had enjoyed an enormous re-issue. Still Diana Ross was floating hgh in the charts again and in the media's eye she could do no wrong.
The superb title track, written by the genius Stevie Wonder, was released as the projects next extract in the U.K. The atmospheric musical arrangements are complimented by a shimmering performance from it's star and a glorious and effective gospel-backing choir. The Force Behind The Power didn't enjoy the success of the previous single where it all too briefly entered the Top 40 charts, peaking at No.27.
However Diana Ross returned to the U.K Top 10 charts in the Spring of 1992 when the gloriously assembled ballad, One Shining Moment was issued as the third extract from the album. Diana's full-throated vocal delivery truly ignites this sparse number.
If We Hold On Together was released in late 1992 and had origanally been recorded back in 1988 and used as the soundtrack to the classic Steven Speilberg animated movie, The Land Before Time. If We Hold On Together also topped the Japanese charts and remained in their charts for over an incredible two and a half years and became Japan's biggest ever selling foreign single. This beautifully delivered and masterful ballad is soothing and touching in it's tone which has always been the genius of Diana Ross and is coated with sensual and exotic musical arrangements. If We Hold On Together quickly became a Top 15 hit in the U.K.
Heart (Don't Change My Mind) was issued in early 1993 in the U.K. This strongly emotive ballad with it's sweeping, epic musical arrangements is delivered with another firm and concentrated vocal performance from Diana which was what has always made her music so long-lasting. Heart (Don't Change My Mind) fell just outside the U.K. Top 30 Singles Charts.
In the U.S the exotic Soul/Pop track, Change Of Heart was issued as a single. This nifty, upbeat tune features a robust guirtar riffage at the bridge of the song and is ignited by a fantastic performance from Diana. Despite it's infectious rhythm and a feel-good performance from Diana, the track died and failed to brace the U.S Hot 100.
Also issued was another exotic number, Waiting In The Wings. Containing a warm reggae beat and a strong and sensual performance from it's star, Waiting In The Wings still stands of strong musical merit and was one of the best featured recordings on The Force Behind The Power album. However it was ignored in the U.S where interest for Diana Ross was seemingly solely generated on constant re-packagings of her more vintage classics. Waiting In The Wings disappointingly failed to hit the Top 100.
The rest of the album is a remarkable affair that is stunning both musically and lyrically. The raw, soulful Battlefield brings back compelling Supremes moments. The repetitive infectious beat is broken up by a highly effective harmonica interlude which really creates that urban mood intended to reflect the ethos of the track.
You're Gonna Love It is a muscular Hip-Hop number where the well-assembled musical arrangements are coated with a strong performance from Diana who proves she hasn't lost any of that fire and sassiness from her earlier days. This red-hot, infectious number with its pulsating rhythms and crashing sound effects sounded like an indeal choice for release as a single but instead remained hidden away on here.
Blame It On The Sun, written by Stevie Wonder and Syreeta Wright (female Motown star of the early 1970's), continues in the tradition of strong-quality love ballads where Dianas delivery is breathtakingly beautiful whilst of equally strong musical merit was the glorious, Heavy Weather, which is another catchy affair.
The dramatic and epic arrangements on You And I proved Diana hadn't lost her penchant for melodrama. All of Dianas duets proved phenomenal and her recordings with the likes of Marvin Gaye and Lionel Richie remain timeless. She duets with R&B singer, Al. B Sure on the breathy, No Matter What You Do. A sizzling sexual chemistry between the two harmonies combined together is what emerges on this recording which was also released as a single in the U.S but alas it once again failed to reach the Top 100. Still, it's a cracking ballad and Diana proved that she was still as an utterly dynamic vocalist as she always!
Though The Force Behind The Power never made it into the U.S Top 100, her career was re-vitalised in the U.K where the album jumped into the Top 15, enjoying extravagent sales, widely praised and recognised by the critics and became a big hit all over Europe too! Diana Ross had returned and was back on top!