Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What If? The Vanessa Williams Dream Compilation

Vanessa Williams, known for her multi-tasking approach as a singer, actress, and model. Yet the versatility of her music makes Williams a fantastic. Not since Diana Ross have we had a singer that could span jazz, pop, and R&B so effortlessly and effectively.

Unfortunately, Williams' music seems to be misplaced in the limbo of a cult following today. Shifting a respectable amount of records has allowed Williams to make music, even if her other entertainment endeavors overshadow it.

Her first official collection The First Ten Years (1998) only skimmed the surface of Williams' work. On that set there are several missing key singles from her first four studio albums. As with most singers from the late 1980's and early 1990's, Williams achieved placement on a variety of musical charts:
Adult Contemporary, Pop, R&B, and Dance.  Excluding her two Christmas records, Williams followed her compilation with her first "standards" record Everlasting Love (2005).

There is plenty of material in Williams' backlog to be covered on a newly minted "best of" collection at this point. Also, with her continually flourishing acting career, a cross-pollination of audiences could introduce her work to an entirely new generation. I've imagined, and hope that her former labels (Wing, Mercury, and Lava) will too eventually, an improved compilation of her major hits and lesser known songs.

Split into two parts: "The Grooves" and "The Slow Jams," everything is showcased properly.
I initially went for chronological order, but figured that mixing it up would strengthen how Williams' work has held up in quality despite the passing of any musical trend or production values. The songs that are included here will be in the single edit forms as played on radio.

The Grooves
"The Comfort Zone" (from The Comfort Zone, 1991)
"The Way That You Love" (Single Edit) (from The Sweetest Days, 1994)
"Everlasting Love" (from Everlasting Love, 2005)
"Work to Do" (from The Comfort Zone, 1991)
"The Right Stuff" (from The Right Stuff, 1988)
"Running Back to You" (from The Comfort Zone, 1991)
"Happiness" (Single Edit) (from Next, 1997)
"(He's Got) The Look" (from The Right Stuff, 1988)
"Who Were You Thinkin' 'Bout?" (from Next, 1997)
"Betcha Never" (from The Sweetest Days, 1994)

The Slow Jams
"Dreamin'" (from The Right Stuff, 1988)
"Just For Tonite" (Single Edit) (from The Comfort Zone, 1991)
"What Do I Tell My Heart?" (from The Comfort Zone, 1991)
"Love Is" with Brian McKnight (from Beverly Hills 90210 Soundtrack, 1993)
"Darlin' I" (from The Right Stuff, 1988)
"You Are Everything" (from Everlasting Love, 2005)
"Where Do We Go From Here?" (from The First Ten Years, 1998)
"You Can't Run" (from The Sweetest Days, 1994)
"Oh, How the Years Go By" (from Next, 1997)
"The Sweetest Days" (from The Sweetest Days, 1994)
"Colors of the Wind" (from Pocahontas Soundtrack, 1995 )
"Save the Best For Last" (from The Comfort Zone, 1991)

Considering how some record labels shamelessly cash in on singers when it is viable, this is project could be awesome if done correctly. With the right amount of care, love, research (liner notes and pictures) a Vanessa Williams retrospective would satisfy her longtime fans and her newly won ones.-QH


Anonymous said...

Vanessa deserves all the accolades and awards she's been nominated for. To have ended up on top after the Miss America debacle, I can only wonder how she thumbs her nose at those naysayers. With that said, she deserves a better compilation honoring the greatest of all her hits. I have to admit I'm a Johnny Come Lately to her talents. Having ignored her most of her career, I had to step back and notice how great this woman truly is. I really admire her. Wilhemina rocks!


RhythmicSoul said...

much like nissi, im a johnny come lately too..ive always known of her singing career, always known shes had various albums and heard various songs..but theyve never really made me want to dive in and discover more of her gems for myself..altho i do LOVEEEEEEE "dreamin" and always have, im gonna check out more of vanessa and her fierceness lol

S. Flemming said...

Man I've loved her since the first time I saw "The Right Stuff" vid in like fourth grade, ha ha. She was getting it in that corset! All that aside, she's truly talented. I enjoy all of her work a lot. "The Comfort Zone" is my favorite of them all.

Seon said...

I actually love her last studio album "Everlasting Love" and I saw Vanessa in concert earlier this month and she was fantastic. The casino was packed, and she sang with gusto. My favorite all time song of hers is "Constantly" from her Sweetest Days album.