All You Can Eat
k.d. lang (Warner Bros. 46034)
Despite her luminous voice and charismatic presence, k.d. lang remains something of an acquired taste, a performer whose work is too closely focused and uncompromising to pass for any kind of easy listening. As a result, while some listeners will happily gorge themselves on "All You Can Eat," others will find the album a bit hard to swallow. A long, languorous meditation on love and longing, it shows lang at her most sultry and seductive, urging her lover to "unleash your sexuality" (in "Sexuality"), and murmuring that she wants "all of your body, all of your mind/all your affection, all of the time" (in "I Want It All"). But rather than paint those emotions in the larger-than-life style of mainstream pop divas, lang's palette is filled with melancholy, minor-key melodies and slow-burning, funk-tinged grooves that give songs like "Maybe" and "Acquiesce" the whispered intensity of a lover's prayer. It's certainly closer to real life than the typical torch song approach, but it does require more empathy and attention from the listener. So even though the bittersweet "World of Love" is entrancing in a way love songs rarely are, it's unlikely that it will ever become a hit on the scale of "I Will Always Love You."