En Vogue “EV3” (EastWest)
Following the departure of founding member Dawn Robinson, the three remaining funky divas who make up En Vogue Terry Ellis, Maxine Jones, Cindy Herron Braggs continue to deliver smart, harmony-rich R&B; tunes that connect with the masses. Preceded by the smash “Don’t Let Go (Love),” which previously appeared on the “Set It Off” soundtrack, the current project is loaded with potential R&B;, pop and AC hits, including Babyface co-written and produced slow-jam “Whatever;” the David Foster-produced extravaganza “Too Gone, Too Long;” thumper “Let It Flow,” featuring quotes from previous En Vogue hits and a guest rap by Jah; the bluesy “Right Direction;” and ballad “Damn I Wanna Be Your Lover.” An outfit that pioneered the ‘90s version of the girl vocal group and is poised to remain in the vanguard of a genre crowded with a seemingly endless pool of imitators.
Jon Bon Jovi “Destination Anywhere” (Mercury)
Solo bow by Bon Jovi front man veers toward the pop side of the pop-rock equation, much as the band’s sound and look shifted from metal-leaning rock toward pop. Highlights of a solid album include the sultry, bluesy “Midnight In Chelsea” and the midtempo rock title cut - both of which are making inroads at top 40 and AC radio. Other tunes could extend the project’s life at radio and retail and set Bon Jovi on a promising solo career. The album’s out-of-the-box awareness is high thanks to a short film starring Bon Jovi alongside such stars as Demi Moore and Anabella Sciorra that aired on MTV.