Just no other way

<!– Link: Coco Lee

There’s just no other way to enjoy this album: Turn off your brain.

Coco Lee’s American homecoming — she’s recorded seven Chinese-language albums in Asia — sports the kind of bubblegum R&B trafficked by the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

Pretty savvy move, really — it’s a recognition of what’s driving the music business economy these days, at least until the next demographic-income shift.

Does that mean Just No Other Way is necessarily a bad album? Not really.

Lee definitely has a set of pipes on her, and when she wraps them around those inane “love me-love me-love me” lyrics trademark of her chosen genre, she actually sounds earnest. She doesn’t melissmatize her ad libbing as badly as many R&B grandstanders. And above all, her voice is actually pleasant.

Musically, Utada Hikaru she is not. All of the tracks on Just No Other Way contain the interchangeable hooks found on other such R&B albums. When she slows down to sing a dramatic pop ballad, don’t be surprised if you hear an electric piano playing the step-wise hook.

(I’ve always wondered how people who dig R&B can distinguish one album from another. I certainly wonder about that with most alternative rock music.)

And for all its lack of anything really original, Just No Other Way is guiltily enjoyable. Like Brian Eno’s Music for Airports, which works best when you actively ignore it, Coco Lee’s brand of cookie-cutter R&B is pretty tolerable.

Just don’t work to hard to pay attention to it.