Five years, a few soundtrack cuts and a critically-praised side project after exiting super-girl-group En Vogue, Dawn Robinson finally makes her solo debut with Dawn, a fashionable mix of neo-soul (“Read It in My Eyes,” “Set It Off”), gooey R&B balladry (the sultry “I Don’t Know Why”) and trendy hip-pop (the guitar-driven “Still”). The socially conscious “Get Up Again,” co-written by Robinson, weaves the former Funky Diva’s heartfelt commentary over a sparse backdrop of acoustic guitars and percussion. But there’s a distinct feeling that we’ve heard this all before; after the multi-format success of En Vogue and Lucy Pearl, Dawn seems jailed within the confines of current R&B trends. “Party Party,” no matter how palatable, is nothing more than a rewrite of “Jumpin’ Jumpin’” by Destiny’s Child (a group of women whose influences have ironically come full circle). Dawn‘s first single, “Envious,” is based around a guitar riff strikingly similar to Eve’s “Let Me Blow Ya Mind.” While the album confirms that Robinson was indeed En Vogue’s most distinctive voice, it’s not until the album’s final track, the gritty “You Will Never,” that Robinson’s tenacity emerges. She lathers on the attitude and fans the flames of miscommunication: “Funky divas, I don’t need ya/Lucy Pearl lost this girl/I run this!” Lucy Pearl may have given the singer an opportunity to branch out musically (“Dance Tonight” and “Don’t Mess with My Man” were two of Y2K’s best singles), but the freedom she displays on Dawn is too prepackaged and trend-conscious to reach the heights of her previous collaborations.
- Release Date
- December 30, 2002
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