by: Earth, Wind & Fire

After making an exciting comeback with the impressive Touch the World, Earth, Wind & Fire disappointed us bitterly with Heritage, which, next to Electric Universe, is the band's weakest and most forgettable album. Heritage suffers from the same problem as Universe -- Maurice White obviously wanted to keep EWF sounding contemporary and up to date, but he ended up with something forced and unnatural. Bringing MC Hammer and the Boyz on board for guest spots and incorporating a heavy dose of hip-hop and urban contemporary elements, EWF goes out of its way to appeal to younger listeners and fails to be true to itself. The high-tech album usually ends up sounding stiff and insincere, like the result of a market meeting rather than artistic inspiration. Even an appearance by Sly Stone doesn't help. This is a release that only completists and avid collectors should spend their money on. ~ Alex Henderson

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