"Power Of A Woman" reviews
Reviews of "Power Of A Woman" and its singles
Album: Top Of The Pops Magazine, November 1995
The main question here is, can our favourite female group come up with the goods again after their excellent first album Always and Forever? Well, the good news is yes they can, although be warned, Power Of A Woman is v.different. Overall, with songs better than the Power Of A Woman single (ie. Who Are You and Hurry Up) it's a sexier, funkier album which proves that Easther Bennett is one of the finest singers we've seen for yonks. Totally brilliant!
Reviewed by Peter Loraine
Album: ikon, December 1995
But they're not SEXY! There's the rub. It's not that I don't want to shag them or whatever, that's irrelevant - it's just that they're playing Sex Music, after a fashion, and they're just not SEXY, like TLC or R Kelly or En Vogue or MN8 or Adina Howard are sexy, or like Carol Vordermann is sexy, sex in the veins, in every breath, accidental, conspicuous, omnipresent, SEXUAL. Their swingbeat doesn't SWING, their soul is dry and deliberate. Nice tunes! They know how to move the same way at the same time, every time - they've got something, somewhere, but it's not sex, and it's not upfront but unspoken but unmissable, and it's not here. Perhaps it's that they sound so very South London - the most sexless place on Earth? It's got worse since they lost Louise (according to The Chart Show, "the other girls sent her a big bunch of flowers to wish her all the best", though I've heard words to suggest that's SOME WAY from the truth, as it goes). Louise had it - there was something about Louise, looking a little lost, a bit silly up there that, in the context of such slight, slimy R&B, made her somehow more convincing. One struggles even to recall the names of the other three, now carrying Eternal between them. Louise's surname was Nurding. Nurding. And still she had it! There's little here to run with. All it is is CLARRRSY.
Reviewed by Taylor Parkes
Album: Select, December 1995
Three is better than four. More clasic, like The Supremes. Anyway, Louise's single is deadly dull where Power Of A Woman, the newly-trimmed Eternal single, is a fine thing, like prime Chaka Khan. Only problem is, on the album it's followed by a syrupy God ballad, which you don't really need. But which you'd expect on a grown-up soulgirl record - and this is a very grown-up soulgirl record.
The decent-ish Who Are You and 'Up To You' apart, Eternal aren't even trying to compete with the sassy TLC - they're taking on the Vanessa Williamses of this world, producing one smoother-than-smooth slowie after another.
It's all very proficient, and that's their gain and our problem. You could never guess they come from Lewisham, which is a shame. Eternal have become easy to admire and hard to like.
Soundbite: "Three times a lady, unfortunately."
Reviewed by: Mark Morris
Album: Maxim, December 1995
Oh dear. The recently trioed princesses of pop have gone all grown up on us. Instead of knocking out the same old foot-tappers that have seen them become a permanent fixture on daytime radio and on a million teenage bedroom walls, they get serious with a cover of Bob Marley's 'Redemption Song' - a big, big mistake - and then mix ballads and uptempo numbers so liberally that any mood that might have been created is strangled at birth. And with lyrics like "You need my lovin'/Like a desert needs the rain,' that's probably no bad thing.
Reviewed by: Adam Sutherland
Album: NME, 4th November 1995
Young, gifted and blacklisted
There has been some criticism of the white male rock press of late. In some quarters, it seems voices have been raised, asking why bands of arguably local interst - or, as we call them round here 'indie groups' from 'England' - are covered to an exhaustive degree when bands who are much more successful receive little or no coverage. Some people even go as far as to say that bands who are black, or female, or pop stand less chance of being covered.
This is of course an innacurate argument. The music press is not staffed by white supremacist misogynists who can only get excited listending to some badly-produced models in Adidas doing Kinks karaoke. No readers, the reason huge successful pop music that REAL LIFE PEOPLE like is not covered much by the rock press is a simple one. It's you, you tone deaf clods.
The music press would be ramming Eternal and Erasure and Simply Red down the nation's throats on a daily basis if that's what you wanted - but on no, you (or a lot of you) would rather have Oasis. And Sleeper. Christ, some people would rather have Menswear. And that would be OK if - I'll do the bloody album in a minute if you don't mind, I've got 400 words - if Bob NME Reader occassionally said, "Alright. So I like indie music. But I can see that most of the other records in the charts are, if not about half a million times better, at lest as good." But oh no again, half the readers live in a tiny village with a big wall round it and a sign saying "CAN'T HEAR YOU! I'VE GOT MY FINGERS IN MY EARS AND I'M SINGING A GREEN DAY SONG!".
What's wrong with that? Well, indie, which allegedly expouses an alternative liberal attitude to life, turns out to be pure dead fascist when it comes to one thing it should know about - music. It's 1995 and indie kids are still overwhelmed that there are women in guitar groups (overwhelmed and over-aroused - why is it daft to be a 20-year-old student throwing teddy bears at Louise Wener?).
So let's run out into the big world and look at this successful Eternal record. Like Take That, they have lost a member. Now Easther, Kéllé and Vernie are an all-black vocal trio and can be as TLC as they like. Power Of A Woman is Britpop - utterly contemporary hit music made by British people - and, while it might lack the shocking genius of Damon Albarn, it has no bad songs on it, a lot of great beauty and style ('Good Times' is a glorious, lissome tune), and even resembles Oasis in that its lead-off track sounds exactly like someone else's song (Power Of A Woman, based rather heavily on the Emotions 'Best Of My Love'. You might not buy this record, chums, but it's better than three out of the last five albums you did buy.
Reviewed by: David Quantick
Album: Sky Magazine, December 1995
Down to a trio, and with their eyes firmly on the prize (the US), Eternal mature into a more purely R&B vibe. There are plenty of good songs, crisp productions by a variety of producers and, with their UK-ruling vocal agility on finer form than ever, it's hard to see how Eternal's polished brand of gospel-tinged swingbeat can fail Stateside. But,in all this maturity, a bit of their youhtful charm has exited stage left.
Rating: *** (out of 5)
Reviewed by: Simon Witter
Album: Blues & Soul, December 6th - 17th 1995
Eternal make a swift (and surprisingly strong) return after the undeniable success of their debut Always And Forever set. Power Of A Woman, we're reliably informed, sees the South London divas veer carefully towards their R&B gospel roots, a point qualified by the inclusion of BeBe Winans on production credits and current LA golden boy Dallas Austin who has excecutively produced three tracks.
The title cut, now a huge hit in most corners of the globe kicks off the record in the same deep R&B vein that runs throughout the album. I Am Blessed a rousing Whitney Houston-type anthem (and second single) is a natural illustration of the way in which the basic structure of this album has been designed to reflect an already established R&B institution Stateside as opposed to its UK counterpart still very much in its infancy stage.
"Telling You Now" and "It Will Never End" are two gentle ballads confidently delivered in an ever maturing vocal style, their obvious commercial appeal will make them prime contenders for future single release. The same could be said for "Hurry Up" a bright, breezy mid-tempo cut which neatly fits into the preconceived crossover formula initiated on Always And Forever.
Their interpretation of Bob Marley's masterpiece "Redemption Song" won't offend the Marley connoisseurs but may not please the soul purists either. ?Who Are You edges closer to the Always And Forever sound as does the final track "Faith In Love" which brings to a close the thirteen track album of safe but ultimately satisfying productions.
The astute commercial viability Vernie, Easther and Kéllé have developed in their short but fruitful tenure at EMI will probably see a healthy increase on the two million sales chalked up by their debut set. An admirable achievement in itself far easier said than done as so many graduate members of that LA institution have found out.
Reviewed by: Jon Lloyd
Album: Smash Hits, October 25th - November 7th 1995
Shudders abound as you put the new Eternal album on. Can they survive without Louise? Are you to be treated to a shocking new gospel direction? The answers are: yes of course they can; and, no all the songs are about rumpo and blokes, well mostly. Yup its business as usual, with twinkly harmonies on every track, be it a melodramatic ballad or a bump-'n'-grind anthem. Louise had better have something equally as top to offer, or she'll be kicking herself from here to Christmas.
Album: FHM, January 1996
Since the multi-platinum sales of their debut album, Always and Forever, Eternal have taken stock of themselves. They've parted company from Louise Nurding, the white girl, become a trio and set their sights on America so firmly that they're off to live there. As America is up to is elbows in girl vocal trios, it's hard not to admire them for their bravery, while fearing for them, too. Still, Power of A Woman is a viable calling card. Eternal specialise in mainstream soul, expertly presented with lyrics about love (except for the lush cover of Bob Marley's Redemption Song). The tunes are nothing out of the ordinary, but the vocals are scrumptious, like on Good Thing where the girls seem set to harmonise themselves to death. Best fun of all, though, is I Am Blessed trying hard not to break into I Will Always Love You.
Reviewed by: John Aiziewood
"Power Of A Woman" single:
Smash Hits, October 11th - 24th 1995
Q. What do Eternal sound like now that they're a three piece?
A. Sweet! Get it? Three-piece suite!
OK, no more crap jokes, just the facts: this is absolutely brilliant. A really confident upbeat pop song with the usual supply of top-notch harmonies, a chorus that sticks in your head like superglue and all those kung fu-type noises that they have a habit of putting in the background. Easther, Vernie and Kéllé have never sounded better and anyone who said that losing Louise would be the end of the road for Eternal (ie me) must feel like a bit of a supermungous full-on no-brain. Feel the power, my brave beauties - this is only the beginning of your unstoppable conquest of the realm of pop.
Reviewed by: Gavin Reeve
"I Am Blessed" single:
TV Hits, January 1996
Brian: This is such a cool song, I've got goosebumps!
Kevin: Yup, it passed the goosebumps test with me too! If I get goosebumps after hearing a song it must be doing something right! The vocals were great - we met the girls at a party and they were really cool.
Brian: They've already had a big hit in the States and I think this one might do well too.
Reviewed by: Brian and Kevin from the Backstreet boys.
"I Am Blessed" single:
Top Of The Pops, December 1995
Eternal slow it down for the festive season. Perfect for that gorged post-Christmas dins feeling... while mum and dad are washing up in the kichen, heh heh!