What I know is What You Don't Know outdoes Exposure
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 08/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sophomore slump? No way! In fact this tops their debut Exposure by miles! What You Don't Know is the Miami-based girl trio's second go-around with producer Lewis A. Martinee, who also does many different instruments on many of the tracks. He also writes or co-writes all but two tracks. The girls harmony vocals is also used to great effect.The horn-enhanced title track contains the same bouncy energy backed with intense percussion and drum-machines that "Come Go With Me" and "Point Of No Return". The Jets wouldn't be out of place doing this, and tracks like this would've saved their career. The "In Effect Mix" of this song, with rap-scratching effects and enhanced bass, give it an early Janet Jackson flavour.The pace continues when Ann sings on "Stop, Listen, Look & Think" which could also have done wonders for Brenda K. Starr.The string-like keyboards opening the Paula Abdul-ish "Tell Me Why" hint at a more serious message, that of the effects of senseless crime: "Tell me anybody why can't we live together/end all the fighting erase it all forever/listen to this reason before it gets too late/soon there will be no one, no one left to hate." The pre-chorus refrain is sung in unison by the trio to great effect.The nocturnal slow dance R&B number "When I Looked At Him" demonstrates why Jeanette does best as the balladeer and singer. Message here: "It's not a dream/we all need love and understanding/we must break thru/and make a love that's everlasting." Added piano, strings-keyboard decorate the more lush "Suave Mix", also on this album."Let Me Down Easy", which mirrors the same instrumentation as the title track, is also sung by Gioia, and could've been a good Jets or Cover Girls number.Songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly give "Still Hung Up On You", which could give Bananarama a run for its money in bubble-gum style music. Gioia on vocals here.Then ballad number two with Jeanette, written by Diane Warren (oh yes!) and its a heartbreaker. The impending collapse of a relationship is central to "Your Baby Never Looked Good In Blue."
Ann sings "Now that I Found You", whose bounce is lightweight compared to the first three songs, but is decent enough, as it segues into the similarly tempoed "Love Don't Hurt (Until You Fall), backed by string-synths and brass, and sung by Gioia.If you thought the previous Jeanette ballad was a heartbreaker, "Didn't It Hurt To Hurt Me" goes even further in emotion. Gioia lacks the suppleness of Jeanette but does wonders here in a world that's unexpectedly turned upside down. The string-keyboards help the atmosphere, as does the bridge: "When I think of all the pain/the pain that was left to subside/but now I think it's too late for you to cry." An awesome number.The brass-enhanced "Walk Along With Me" gets back to the quick tempo of the first three songs and is a perfect way to end the album, not counting the remixes. All three take turns on lead vocals. When they sing "Walk along with me/change all the feelings/sing along with me, shape the world" I'll accept that invitation gladly, for the following reason.I went to see Expose in concert in 1990 while they were promoting this album, and it's the best concert I've ever been--in fact, when the girls, generosity booming in their hearts, asked those of us to come on up to get closer to them, I rushed forward from Row 7 and got to the penultimate row, almost shaking hands with Gioia! A night to remember!What really helps is that the individual song credits list the lead singer. Jeanette comes off as the best vocalist. Wonder why she never went for a solo career--I would've sprung for an album of hers. This was Gioia's last album with the trio, as she left to have a family. One of the most danceable albums of the 80's, with a really appealing trio."
Good Album...Not Great But Good
Aaron | Ohio, USA | 11/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""What You Don't Know" was coming off of Expose's multi-platinum debut which had spawned a string of very successful singles. They had already had four top 10 singles and the title track flew into the top 10 also @ #8. The uptempo dance track continued their successive club/dance hits. But this album also displayed their talent for ballads. The 2nd single "When I Looked At Him" is a gorgeous piece of balladry and it also hit the top 10 as did the 3rd single, "Tell Me Why." And finally, Expose hit the top 20 once again with one of my favorites "Your Baby Never Looked Good In Blue." Written by Diane Warren, I still consider it one of their best songs. There is some decent filler on here also. I love the uptempo dance magic of the Ann Curless led "Stop Listen Look and Think." This easily could've been a big hit for them. "Let Me Down Easy" keeps the beat going as does the other Ann-led track "Now That I Found You." The only track that majorly brings the album down is the train wreck "Didn't It Hurt To Hurt Me." This really should've been left off. Horrible song. And the album closes with two decent remixes of "WYDK" and "WILAH."It stinks that this album is out of print. I was lucky enough to find it used. Expose are still one of my favorite pop groups to this day. They had a great deal of radio success in the late-80's and early 90's with ten top 40 singles *eight of those going top 10.* But they never got the media attention or MTV exposure they needed to push them over that fine line of super-stardom."
No sophomore slump here
Jesse H. Melchor | Chicago, IL USA | 08/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After enduring legal problems, Expose' returned with a vengence with Gioia belting out "What You Don't Know." The infectous chorus, Latino brass and upbeat flavor of the single reminded the pop chart that theirs was not a fluke success. Gioia's lead on the song served to reinforce the alternating vocal capability of the group. The audience responded by catapulting the song into the top ten.The subtle and melodic ballad, "When I Looked At Him," focused on Jeanette's vocal talents. Elements of contemporary jazz are apparent here with concentrated degrees of saxaphone and piano chords. Jeanette's low key delivery emphasizes the softer side of Expose'."Tell Me Why" marked another distinction for the group. The message song tackled the difficult, and realistic, issue of gangs, with focus on our youth and what really matters to them. Gioia's impassioned vocals are wrought with despair, sincerity, anguish and hope. "Oh, uh uh oh."The fourth single, "You're Baby Never Looked Good In Blue" found the cute ballad delivered by Jeanette. She sings of the despair of finding out that she has lost her love to another, thereby feeling blue."Stop, Listen Look And Think" was remixed and released to club DJs, giving Ann much needed exposure in the lead vocal spotlight. She fares well on the original version, holding her own in its upbeat, danceable arrangement. Don't worry, Ann finally gets her due with the third album.Other tracks to listen closely to include "Now That I Found You," one of several live arragement tracks with a catchy piano riff to start things off. Ann demonstrates her niche here, and she is complimented with the infectious chorus. "Love Don't Hurt (Until You Fall)" can be considered a sequel of sorts to "Let Me Be The One," in both tempo and musical arrangement. Gioia details her enchantment over another...and her subsequent heartache. The ballad, "Didn't It Hurt To Hurt Me," finds Gioia once again at her dramatic best, with ad libs for weeks! As the background chants "Didn't it hurt? Didn't it hurt?," one may feel like they are in church.As with "I Know You Know" before it, "Walk Along With Me" clearly distinguishes the alternating vocal ability of each member as each takes turns on the mike. Curiously, the "What You Don't Know" cassette single featured "Walk Along With Me" as it's back side. However, it runs a bit longer, with Ann and Gioia making the fade to black portion of the track all their own."Exposure" granted Jeanette in the lead vocal spotlight more then the others and "What You Don't Know" focused on Gioia. Sadly, Gioia would develop an inoperable throat cyst and ultimately have no other choice but to forfeit her position in the group.Overall, the album is a strong return for the group. They expand their musical repertoire and branch out from their established recipe for success. A little ear candy never hurt nobody."