Mountain High...Valley Low

by: Yolanda Adams

{$Yolanda Adams} is too beautiful and talented to have escaped the bickerings of some narrow-minded people within the {\gospel} community. She has been criticized in the past both for her manner of dress (more glamorous than seductive) and for her "secular" music (which focuses on faith-driven lyrics while branching out into {\R&B} and {\pop} styles). With the release of {^Mountain High. . .Valley Low}, her first album on a major, mainstream record label, it would seem that she has provided her attackers with their most potent ammunition ever. The album has been heavily promoted by {@Elektra Records}, and has world-class producers {$Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis}, and {$Keith Thomas} stretching {$Adams}' musical boundaries further than ever. While at times they take her in strange directions (the {\hip-hop} flavor on {&"Time to Change"} sounds like a lost track from {^The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill}), each song, taken independently, works. The album is incredibly varied and makes use of a full grab-bag of effects, from heavy over-dubbing (on some tracks {$Adams} is singing up to three layers of vocals at the same time, while backup vocalists add even more textures) to swelling {\pop}-orchestra string lines to funky {\electronic} effects. The bottom line, though, for critics and fans alike, is the message. Before they crank up their pitching arms the stone throwers should take note: this is an incredibly {\inspirational} album in which every song focuses on spreading the message of Jesus. {$Adams} just gets to have a lot of fun along the way. In a time when most {\gospel} albums don't make a dent in music sales outside of the Christian community, an artist with {$Adams}' kind of appeal is a blessing, not a curse. ~ Stacia Proefrock, Rovi

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