Diana Ross, Diana

A lot of folks adore this album but on this side of the fence I argue there's just not enough to like. Yes, you have the hits like "Upside Down" (and deservedly so), but even the retconned-gay anthem "I'm Coming Out" takes a little too long to get cooking and "Have Fun (Again)" has a quirky hook but gets stale fast. Likewise, her anthropomorphic "My Old Piano" is essentially the reworked beat from "Upside Down" with less going for it and the slow moments such as "Friend To Friend" and "Now That You're Gone" seem more like perfunctory drama queen anthems than heartfelt appeals to one's soul. The album redeems itself somewhat with the sizzly "Give Up" in the closer slot, but one wonders if that title fits this outing a little too well: Lady Di can hit you in the gut when she wants to but except for brief flashes of brilliance this slick album just doesn't stick. Ross fans will want to find the 2003 deluxe 2-CD set, but don't expect anything special from the alternate takes on the first disc — the collector's interest is actually the second one with a number of rare 12-inch mixes from other albums otherwise unreleased on any modern format. (Content: no concerns.)