Aretha Franklin teamed up with singer-song-writer-producer Luther Vandross last year to produce Jump to It, which featured a superbly consistent set of tunes and easily the finest singing Lady Soul has done in ten years. The second time around, this terrific twosome didn’t quite get it right. Vandross’ songs on Get It Right lack luster, perhaps because he’s overextended himself: he’s written material for his own album and for projects with Cheryl Lynn, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Marcus Miller. And Aretha herself seems to be coasting this time out, unable or unwilling to transcend mediocre material as she has done so many times in the past. “I Wish It Would Rain” is a thoughtless revamping of a beautiful song already done well by the Temptations and Gladys Knight, and “Get It Right” is not only a pale attempt to re-create “Jump to It” but borrows explicitly from Vandross’ first hit, “Never Too Much.”
Two cuts on the album stand out. The zippy “Every Girl (Wants My Guy)” swings hard and, unlike “Get It Right,” captures the sass of “Jump to It,” especially during the phone rap in the middle. “What’s happenin’?” says Miss Ree in a super, super blasé voice. “Oh, same ol’ thing — girls tryin’ to jerk me from my man!” On the other side of the coin (and the record) is a lovely ballad reminiscent of Sylvester at his most sentimental. Called “Better Friends and Lovers,” the tune was written by Michael Lovesmith, who also did the sweet vocal arrangement. This is a friendly record, but not one to love.