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Kenny Loggins

Vox Humana  Hear it Now

RS: Not Rated

1985

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Kenny Loggins' Vox Humana is not so much an album of songs as a collection of some of the most elegant, hightech rhythm tracks ever to come out of Los Angeles. At its best, it matches the gossamer, state-of-the-art productions of Quincy Jones. "I'm Gonna Do It Right," for instance, could be based on a close study of Patti Austin's "It's Gonna Be Special" and Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." It opens with spell-casting electric-key-board chords and a whisper of percussion, lurches ahead on Nathan East's propulsive bass and Loggins' teasing vocal and builds through one climactic chorus after another to an extended disco-delirious break, which crosscuts a tongue-twisting chant by the Pointer Sisters with tricky tattoos by guest percussionist Sheila E. This track alone guarantees some sweaty dance floors this summer.

At its worst, the album apes the overblown productions of the Chicago-Journey-Toto school of bombastic pop kitsch, as on "Forever," cowritten and coproduced by the master of same, David Foster.

There's plenty of middle ground: the floating, falsetto-laced Bee Gees clone, "Love Will Follow"; the mild funk of "At Last"; the sparkling nouveau Motown of "I'll Be There," featuring two of the kids from DeBarge on lovely backups; and the very "Footloose"-like strains of the title cut and "Let There Be Love."

As these comparisons suggest, Vox Humana is most notable for appropriating up-to-the-minute pop-soul production styles. The songs themselves are melodically and lyrically minimal. But it's business as usual for Kenny Loggins, who has always been less a pop original than an expert mimic cannily synthesizing the music of the moment.

DON SHEWEY

(Posted: Jun 6, 1985)

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