Strictly the Best, Vol. 22

by: Various Artists

This is the collection for roots reggae lovers -- it's filled with lovers rock and "conscious" hits from 1998, and it oozes with easy-flowing rhythms. Nonetheless, almost half of the singles are covers of other artists' hits. Some of them, such as Sanchez' sweet crooning on "For You," and Singing Melody's stylish vocals on "Want You Back," are good. Others, such as Ambelique's deadpan, perfunctory singing on Barry Manilow's "Copacabana," and Nikesha's weak warbling on Leann Rimes' "How Can I Live," are bad. There are some good original offerings, such as Luciano's swaggering and sexy singing on "Ulterior Motives," and the always soulful Pam Hall on "No Time to Lose"; however, more of the tracks could be on this level. ~ Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

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