Urban Contemporary, 2001
There is a good reason why Gabrielle is one of the top bestselling R&B artists in the United Kingdom. Fourteen good reasons, as this greatest hits compilation Dreams Can Come True: Greatest Hits Volume 1 shows.
Gabrielle’s husky, sultry voice is always a pleasure to the ears (although I must admit, it is not for everybody!), as she moves from maternal comfort to playful coquette in a blink of an eye. Her debut single Dreams, from which the title of this compilation originates from, is still a classic. A simple yet catchy midtempo dance track with the most beautiful guitar and string arrangement, Dreams elevates its generic lyrics to a beautiful waltz of ear manna. The chorus is still one of the catchiest I’ve heard.
Going Nowhere cements her reputation as an artist to be reckoned with, and from there, Gabrielle soars. Never mind the catchy but substandard Because of You – tracks from her follow-up album moves. Give Me a Little More Time conjures the sweetest reminiscences of Motown’s finest moments, Forget About the World challenges homophobia with a healthy dose of soul, and her duet with defunct group E17, the cover of Shai’s If You Ever has her putting Brian Harvey to shame with her vocals.
Sunshine and Rise are bittersweet soul food for the wounded and lonely, while When a Woman is teasing playfulness incarnate. Gabrielle’s sound has matured by this time, as does her lyrics. Three new tracks, Out of Reach, Don’t Need The Sun to Shine, and If I Walked Away, close a beautiful voyage of great quality music.
Sure, she sings about melancholic stuff most of the time, but it’s all in the catharsis, people. Gabrielle is Florence Nightingale and your hot hoochie momma all rolled into one. She sings, she purrs, and she coos. Plus, she writes all the liner notes in this CD, baring her soul and thoughts to her fans. You can’t get much cooler than that.