Record Review - Melanie Fiona: The Bridge

The hype machine is in full force for the latest Canadian transplant, and for the most part it’s deserved. Melanie Fiona’s fine crossover debut, The Bridge, is on par with the auspicious beginnings of that other Canadian soul pop diva, Deborah Cox. Both offer radio-friendly midtempo grooves, big sweeping ballads, and natural, melisma-rich vocals. One key difference resonates on cuts such as “Monday Morning,” where the Guyanese vocalist is ankle-deep in the still-lingering ’60s retro-soul revival. The best of the bunch is the Andrea Evans-penned single “Give It to Me Right,” which incorporates a fierce sample of the famed “Time of the Season.” It’s not all yesterday’s R&B, though. There are plenty of adult urban contemporary tracks produced by Saalam Remi and Supa Dubs that foreshadow Fiona’s bright future as tomorrow’s next major soul star. (Universal Music) 4 out of 5 stars