August 03, 2019

All-4-One - A41 (2002)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B
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© 2002 AMC American Music
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
From a self-titled album in 1994 to A41 in 2002, All 4 One's problem has never been a lack of vocal prowess -- the group's four members are, without question, highly talented singers. But having a great deal of talent and making the most of it are two different things, and on this 2002 release, All 4 One's members still have yet to make the most of their considerable skills. Like the group's previous releases, A41 usually favors a very safe, middle-of-the-road blend of urban and adult contemporary. And true to form, All 4 One embraces a lot of syrupy ballads that are pleasant but unremarkable and lightweight. Gentle ballads like "Heaven Sent," "Before U, Without You, After U," "Not Ready 4 Goodbye," and the single "Beautiful As You" will likely please those who All 4 One won over with their 1994 smash "I Swear"; in fact, unchallenging, innocuous background music is exactly what some stressed-out and overworked Americans are looking for. But the group is capable of a lot more, and on this CD it is clear that All 4 One is resorting to formula instead of gambling with inspiration and taking chances. Nonetheless, A41 has its moments. The funky, up-tempo "Round and Round" is quite infectious, and the gospel-tinged "Between Us" (which is arguably the CD's best track) has an enjoyably Stevie Wonder-ish quality. Also noteworthy is a cover of Andy Gibb's 1977 hit "I Just Wanna Be Your Everything," which isn't as strong as the original version but is still likable. Is A41 a bad album? Definitely not. But it isn't a great album either, and it's sad to see All 4 One settling for competent when their members are obviously capable of excellence.

tags: all 4 one, a41, 2002, flac,