Luther's return to form
Robert Johnson | Richmond, KY USA | 08/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was Luther's first album of all-new material since 1993's underrated NEVER LET ME GO, and it's another successful recording that hit #9 on the Hot 200 and went Platinum in sales. YOUR SECRET LOVE was recorded and released right around the same time that Luther was ending his 15 year venture with Epic/Sony, which may account for bittersweet tone that runs throughout the entire disc. While it's definitely a bit ballad-heavy, YOUR SECRET LOVR finds Luther finally leaving behind techno-heavy trappings that dated portions of THE POWER OF LOVE and NEVER LET ME GO and returning to sound that made much of his earlier work so timeless.
There is some terrific material here, especially the yearning title track (#52 Pop, #5 R&B) and the old-fashioned "I Can Make It Better" (#80 Pop, #15 R&B) - both of which were justifiable single releases. "Love Don't Love You," "Hard For Me To Say," and "This Time I'm Right" are just as good, and the attempted hip hop crossover "I Can't Wait No Longer" works far better than it should. Interestingly, "Crazy Love" and "Too Proud To Beg" are not covers of the songs performed, respectively, by Van Morrison and the Temptations, but are well-written, original compositions that are impeccably performed and produced.
I wouldn't be surprised if the two actual cover songs, "Knocks Me Off My Feet" and "Goin' Out of My Head," were leftovers from the Songs sessions. However, that's not a complaint as both tracks are standouts - especially "Knocks Me Off My Feet," which will make you wish Luther would record an entire album of Stevie Wonder's material. Really, the only songs that miss the boat with me are the dragging "Nobody To Love" (which suffers from an ineffective hook) and the lame duet "Whether or Not the World Gets Better" (which features some of his lamest lyrics and Lisa Fischer doing a bad Mariah impression), however even these songs remain tolerable. During his 15 years with Sony Luther rarely released an album that wasn't a solid effort, and YOUR SECRET LOVE is no exception.
My first Luther Vandross cd
Eric Ah Kow | Mauritius | 06/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One Saturday, I had to made a choice between 2 cds in the record shop. It would be either 'Never let me go' or 'Your secret love'. I did not know any of the two, so, Mike (the shop manager and personal friend) let me listen to bits of all tracks from both until I made my decision. It couldn't be 'Never let me go' because I did not like the way it sounded. I was not into upbeat or mid tempo songs.. I did not think it really suited Luther Vandross' style, although I love 'Power of Love/Love power' to date, and still think of it as a powerful track to dance to. So I opted for the ballad-loaded 'Your secret love'. It was too compelling for me not to make this choice, and I would lie if I said I ever regretted my choice.
That afternoon, I was the proud owner of my first cd by the Master.
Of course, his singing and I were old quite old friends. I owned several of his recordings on vinyl, but the record player was not in good shape any more.. Since then, I compensated by owning several 'collection' and 'best of' cds..
That was quite a long time ago, and since then, I have had the time to appreciate 'Your secret love'. The cd as a whole is really good contemporary music, and the ballads are wonderful, all of them winning my heart, and feel ever-new at every listening.
'It's hard for me to say' is my favourite song on the cd because the lyrics meant a lot to me at the time, but, above everything else, that powerful soul voice swept me off my feet. The whole album in fact is still a pleasant treat whenever I give it an attentive listening, which still is quite often. The epic ballad 'Crazy Love' still stops the world from revolving around me as the intense singing catches hold of me.. Well, as does the rest of the songs in this album. How could it be otherwise?
It was no secret for anyone who had an ear for music that Luther Vandross had the one of the best voice of the last decades, if not the best. But more than that was his incredible ability to mold with his unique velvet voice every ordinary word into a guilty pleasure for our senses. Did the man sing at home instead of talk? Abilities such as his were unique indeed, as he proved by giving new life to the songs he covered, and most importantly, by turning all his songs into his precious legacy to the world of music.
Sometimes, I think about him, but I guess I can't even wonder what it must have felt like for him knowing how well he could sing. Even now, it feels like it was too easy for him.. His own voice was his masterpiece, the very essence that would give birth to his everlasting songs.
Luther Vandross, wherever you are today, you will always be missed. And I shall always secretly wish I were you.
Dance With My Father
The Best of Luther Vandross
Bring It on Home... The Soul Classics
Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind