GrooveOut Shorts 2: February 2008

Colton Ford, Mary J. Blige, Goldfrapp, A Fine Frenzy, Olivia Newton-John, Andrea Marcovicci, Taylor Dayne, DJ Abel, Raya Yarbrough, Shelby Lynne, Idina Menzel, Ron Morris, Jana Losey

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TaylorTaylor Dayne
The one-time diva returns to the studio for the first time in a decade with 13 new tracks on her new label. Poppy and peppy, “Beautiful” is currently in radio rotation. Her choice to cover Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge” is curiously pleasing. Available February 5 from Intention Music ( Review: Nancy Ford

DJ Abel
Alegria: Universo
The acclaimed spinner accommodatingly breaks down continuous mixes from Ultra Nate, Tony Moran, and other dance club gods on this double CD into two convenient, pharmaceutically-timed subcategories: the Peak Hour Session and the After Sunrise Session. Tommy Boy ( Preview: Nancy Ford

RayaRaya Yarbrough
Raya Yarbrough
Sultry-voiced and soulfully unpredictable, this young singer/songwriter delivers original tunes with a solid jazz-based foundation. “Lord Knows I Would” stands out, as does the quirky “‘Round We Go.” Available February 26 from Telarc ( Review: Nancy Ford

Shelby Lynne
Just a Little Lovin’
Barry Manilow himself came up with the idea of Lynne covering the Dusty Springfield songbook. The often over-looked artist takes the ’60s and ’70s-era hits and deftly makes them her own, especially with “How Can I Be Sure.” Phil Ramone produces. Lost Highway Records ( Review: Nancy Ford

MenzelIdina Menzel
I Stand
The beautiful “Elpheba” from Broadway’s Wicked penned all the selections on her debut pop album, opening with the strong, triumphant anthem, “I Stand.” Simply delightful, especially the tribal, introspective “Enemy.” Expect to hear more—much more—from this Tony winner. Warner Bros. Records ( Review: Nancy Ford

Ron Morris
Boyfriend and Other Sides of Love
You may have seen the crystal-voiced Morris’ breakout single “Boyfriend” on Logo beginning last month; this EP offers five different versions of it. But we mostly enjoyed his unexpected acoustic cover of Cher’s “We All Sleep Alone.” Roadworm Music ( — Review: Nancy Ford

BittersweetJana Losey
This out lesbian and her partner Melanie Peters wrote and independently produced this collection of lyrically pleasing, Morissette-y pop tunes. “S(He) Loves Me” and “Messy Little Happiness” stand out. Poseytunes, Inc. ( Review: Nancy Ford

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