Melanie Fiona, "The Bridge" (Universal Motown)
Melanie Fiona may be eccentric. Or maybe she's just madly in love. Either way, her debut CD is an impressive mix of tracks that presents the many sides of the woman.
"The Bridge" finds the 26-year-old newcomer begging her man to stay put on the uptempo "Please Don't Go (Cry Baby)," leaving her lover behind on the impeccable "Monday Morning," and demanding her partner treat her the right way between the sheets on the groovy first single, "Give It to Me Right."
Though eight of the 12 tracks use samples _ Fiona borrows from The Zombies, Martha & the Vandellas, the Rhine Oaks, Johnnie Taylor, Janet Kay and the Softones _ she proves she can hold her own on the songs that don't use interpolations.
"Bang, Bang" is an exceptional jam, as is "Johnny," a danceable, old school-sounding love song that finds Fiona kicked to the curb, senselessly walking around singing: "Johnny, the least you could have done was drive me home."
Fiona, like newcomer Anjulie, has provided one of the best debut albums this year. The two are also Canadian-raised, Guyanese-bred singers. Must be something in the water.
CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: Fiona's husky, but soothing voice is top-notch on the drum-filled "You Stop My Heart." The passionate tune may stop your heart, too.