by: Yolanda Adams

While Yolanda Adams' voice is as warm and enveloping as a cozy blanket, the lush album opener "Never Give Up" lacks the against-all-odds passion the song's title suggests. Listeners are left anticipating a heart-rending crescendo, but that explosive musical and vocal peak never happens, even when Adams belts in vein-popping intensity at the song's end. What's the problem? This song and most of the fare on Believe are plagued by formulaic R&B and gospel arrangements, predictable key changes and progressions, and less-than-moving lyrics. The album does not justly showcase Adams' fullest vocal potential, which, to be sure, she has in spades based on past recordings. Adams should secure better songwriters and producers. Without them, her many talents go wasted. She can and should do better. ~ Liana Jonas

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