'Hoodoo'; Alison Moyet; Columbia Records/Sony Music. A smattering of recent releases gives a taste of styles ranging from blues, folk, musical theater, classical, rap, and rock. The writers share 11 compact discs they find noteworthy.
Alison Moyet possesses the deepest, sexiest alto voice of any white singer in pop music. Formerly a member of the British group Yaz, Moyet has a limited repertoire of emotion but an unlimited vocal range. She swoops from whispery high notes to steamy lows with the same seamless vibrato. She wails with blues conviction.The best chunk of "Hoodoo" is the first several tracks. In the song "Rise," which exhorts women to resist abuse, she sings, "Baby lose that frying pan/You don't live to feed that man/Nothing's gained through self-denial/'Cause you weren't born to be servile." In the other songs, Moyet runs through the modern litany of yearning for love, stability, and self-determination. Unkind critics could say Moyet is a soul singer wannabe, and it's true she needs stronger musical arrangements to showcase her voice. But the rich intensity of her vocals, and the fine-edged alienation in her lyrics, prove Moyet to be an engaging pop-music talent.