Label: Razor & Tie
Alicia Keys, Carlos Santana, Josh Groban, Ziggy Marley -- everybody wants a piece of Angelique Kidjo's action; half her album is given over to collaborations that vary wildly in quality. The title track (with Keys) is gorgeous, the best of the lot; the cover of Sade's "Pearls" (with Groban) quite simply should not have happened. But then Kidjo goes solo, and the music gives her room to breathe. What was a haphazardly good album becomes solid and adventurous, commandeered but not bullied by Kidjo's preternaturally strong pipes, and dabbling in pan-African instrumentals. In a word, fabulous.