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  • reviewed by LaTonya Taylor Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Feb
Sounds like … BeBe Winans' smoky, soulful voice over warm-but-spare AC-friendly pop/easy listening.At a glance … insightful lyrics and mellow energy make Dream an engaging listen.Track Listing When You PrayLove ThangLove Me AnywayThat's a FriendI Have a DreamHelp Is On the WaySo GladHave You EverLet My Heart GoMiracle of LoveSafe From HarmBenjamin (hidden)

Dream is BeBe Winans' fifth album since he and sister CeCe embarked on separate careers in 1995. It's got a distinctively different feel from earlier solo efforts, which had a soul/R&B feel, while Dream is easy-listening pop, with most songs featuring polished piano, classically influenced guitar and soft percussion. Despite this—and the album's mostly mellow mood, accented by his smoky-soulful voice—Winans manages not to sound repetitive.

The album represents a different place in Winans' life and career from several perspectives. Though a seasoned industry veteran with his own label, he no longer sees himself primarily as a music artist, having branched out into acting (he recently played FBI Agent Williams in The Manchurian Candidate) and radio (he now hosts The BeBe Winans Show). He's also weathered a recent divorce.

Perhaps as a result, many of the songs on Dream focus on hope, courage, change, trust and the support of God and friends. The title track features lyrics based on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famed 1963 speech, and includes excerpts of the recording. The music's lightness serves as a counterpoint to King's realistic-yet-hopeful voice.

"Love Thang" and "Benjamin" tenderly affirm Winans' love for his daughter and son, and "Safe In His Arms" has a hymn-like sense of familiarity and comfort. "That's a Friend" describes lasting heavenly and earthly friendship, and "Love Me Anyway" is reflective, with soft intensity. "So Glad" explores the mixed feelings that accompany loss, with thought-provoking lyrics that demand a second and third listen. Other highlights include "If I Let My Heart Go" and "Miracle of Love," featuring Angie Stone.

Dream is different from Winans' earlier work in a good way. There's a lyrical freshness, a mellow energy and a sense of comfort in his own skin that makes it enjoyable and engaging.

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