It may be presumptuous to suggest that crediting her cosmeticians on her liner notes, signals Margaret Becker's slide into superficiality. But as fashion-conscious as Becker's music is, gestures count.

Never has Becker-a polished, Lisa Stansfield-ish deliverer of blue-eyed soul--sounded less spontaneous than on "What Kind of Love?" Not even her admirable, free-spirited decision to collaborate with the top-40 alumnus Robbie Nevill on four songs nudges her from her comfort zone. With the exception of the sweetly insinuating "Love by Your Side," Becker and Nevill's hybrid fruit has a distinctly bland taste.

Yet Becker's voice, a not-unpleasant blend of Annie Lennox and Amy Grant, retains its modest charms. On Phil Roy and Bob Thiele's "Hope in a Hopeless World," Becker is up to the task of enlivening the clichéed title line. Whether that accomplishment justifies the time and energy that went into "What Kind of Love?," is an open question.

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