by: Take 6

Take 6 faces the classic problem for an act that crosses genres -- in their case from gospel to R&B -- to retain what makes them so effective in their original field (and keep their original audience) while expanding their scope beyond it. They owed their original impact to the awe they inspired as six a cappella singers, and so revitalized gospel. That was on their first, million-selling album; by their third, they had added instruments and taken a more conventional approach. Here, on their fourth, they fell between chairs, with Brian McKnight's production and musical arrangements making them sound like a more wholesome Boyz II Men while they wrote first-person songs with titles like "You Don't Have to Be Afraid" and "I'll Be There" as if speaking in the name of Christ while sounding suspiciously like a boyfriend. Of course, that's an old gimmick in crossover Christian music, but the old problem is that it never gets sexy enough to be convincing. The difference was marked in a song like "Jesus Makes Me Happy," when the group really laid their cards on the table and sounded more fervent as a result. But there wasn't enough of that on an album that frequently masked the group's real strengths. ~ William Ruhlmann

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.