In My Mind is the second album from Heather Headley, the Broadway-actress-turned-recording-artist who scored a surprise Grammy nomination for Best New Artist two years ago and who many speculated would cause an upset and snag the prize. Headley went home empty-handed, but she had little to complain about—her debut stood out because it was propelled by her voice, not the fancy, fussed-over production of many of her peers. For the most part, In My Mind follows that template (the title track, “Losing You,” and “I Didn’t Mean To,” a song about cheating that employs a haunting sample of Helen Reddy’s “I Didn’t Mean To Love You”), but songs like “Am I Worth It” and the Babyface-penned “Me Time” often succumb to health-spa gooiness. “The Letter” is so unabashedly trite that the writers don’t even bother to modernize the Dear John ballad by titling it “The Email” or “The Text Message.” And the Trinidad-born Headley’s desire to show her inherent versatility with dancehall tracks like “How Many Ways” and “Rain,” featuring the always-irksome Shaggy, is ultimately the album’s biggest weakness as it breaks the flow of an otherwise bed, bath, and beyond-ready disc. If In My Mind sags, it’s not because Headley is in any danger of a sophomore slump (her small but no doubt eager fanbase will eat this up, dancehall and all), but because the album doesn’t offer or even attempt anything truly fresh, with Headley content to be nothing more than a voice—albeit a good one.
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