Recording the theme for Disney's 'ALLADIN' didn't have the same effect on Regina Belle's career as 'BEAUTY AND THE BEAST' had for Celine Dion's.With the exception of three or four of Top 40 pop hits ('Baby come to me','Make it like it was','If I could','So many tears') Belle's success was confined to the realm of R'n'B.
Change was in the air,however,for her fifth and one of her strongest releases,BELIEVE IN ME.Belle,who writes four of the songs herself,manages to utilize slick,hip production and update her sound without forgetting the most important element : strong hooks and well-written tunes : Erick 'E-Smooth' Hicks provides the production backdrop for 8 of the album's tunes, giving Belle the strongest rhythmic push her music has ever had.After several easy-listening songs in her career,it's refreshing to hear her loosen up on the radio-ready likes of 'Don't let go','Baby love' and the title track.Her ballads are also more R'n'B-flavoured than ever,and Regina gives some of the laziest,SEXIEST vocals of her career on 'Come see about me' and 'I gotch you',both seductive in a gorgeously minimal setting.
Another refreshing element is song lenght : while a lot of Soul music tends to run on for five minutes or more,only one song,the
final one('Be in love again')clocks in at that leght ; the rest of the tracks are in the four-minute range or shorter,resulting in a breezy effect that inspires repeat listenings.
Filled with memorable hooks and irresistible grooves,'BELIEVE IN ME' finds the great lady of Soul/Jazz at the top of her game.