Although she may have disappeared temporarily since her 1970s heyday and totally rad '80s popularity with the Prince-penned "I Feel for You," Khan on this latest CD proves she is the soul-rock diva for the ages.
Her new joint opens with the sweet "Back in the Day," which ably meshes down 'n' dirty '70s funk, under-the-streetlamp harmonies and a polished contemporary precision. Although it boasts a redundant title, "Foolish Fool" is a great example of soul straight from the Muscle Shoals school, while "One for All Time," with its combination of acoustic guitar and subtle synth, shows the neo-soul singers how it's done.
When Khan takes on Jimi Hendrix's "Castles Made of Sand" or Prince's "Sign o' the Times," it seems just right. Then she amazingly finds a way to make Michael McDonald sound funky as she joins him for "You Belong to Me." And the hip-hop-meets-Aretha vocal blasts of "Disrespectful" are the perfect forum for Khan to team up with Mary J. Blige, who proves that though she might once have been a pretender to Khan's throne, she is hereby anointed as its heir.
But Khan isn't ready to step down yet. "Angel" is a terrific slow dance number that enthusiastically embraces an overheated, overblown jazzy R&B style. In it, Khan's melisma and vibrato put today's American Idol finalists to shame.