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The Very Best of...Dina Carroll

Dina Carroll

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Album Review

It's hard to believe it now, given her complete retreat back into obscurity, but in the mid-'90s Scottish soul-pop vocalist Dina Carroll was one of the biggest pop stars in the U.K. Unfortunately, due to various record company wranglings, her career has undeservedly gone the same way of fellow Brit winners Shola Ama, Des'ree, and Sonique. She hasn't really been heard in the subsequent decade at all, bar a contribution to the Bridget Jones soundtrack, and this 2001 collection, her first and only official album to compile the biggest hits from her career in the 2000s. All six singles appear from her 1993 debut So Close, whose mixture of soul-pop, power ballads, and commercial dance pop earned her comparisons with Mariah, Whitney, and Janet. The epic "Don't Be a Stranger" remains her signature tune, but the C+C Music Factory-produced "Special Kind of Love," the smooth disco-pop of debut solo hit "Ain't No Man," and the jazz-funk of "Express" proved she was more than just a big-voiced balladeer. Her 1996 sophomore album Only Human is represented by five of its 12 tracks, including her rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber's theme to Sunset Boulevard, "The Perfect Year," her joint, worldbeat-inspired, highest-charting single "Escaping," and the Black Box-esque "Living for the Weekend," which pushed Carroll further into the dance diva territory she originally came from. But while sales of two million between them suggest many fans will already own most of this material, The Very Best Of does, in fact, include eight tracks that have never appeared on a Dina Carroll album before. Her collaboration with Quartz on her breakthrough cover of Carole King's "It's Too Late" will be the most familiar, but there are also late-'90s Top 20 singles "One, Two, Three" and "Without Love," both of which were scheduled to appear on her shelved third album, and two canceled singles, "Say You Love Me" and a sassy R&B reworking of Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man." Elsewhere, there are two previously unreleased songs, "Good to Me," and the Ronan Keating-penned "All I Ask," and her final Top 40 single, a faithful performance of Van Morrison's "Someone Like You," all of which suggest Carroll still has much to offer. Of course, much of the material here is so quintessentially '90s that it should come with a free pair of combat trousers, but even though the more up-tempo material hasn't aged particularly well, The Very Best of Dina Carroll is still an enjoyable and welcome reminder of the career of one of Britain's forgotten pop talents. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews

some of the best songs of the 90s

I didn't realize that Dina Carroll only released two albums before this greatest hits compilation; the slow songs are emotional without being schmaltzy, and the dance songs remind me of tearing it up in the bars in the early to mid-90s. She was a bright spot of the decade and deserved a lot more recognition. This is a fantastic compilation because it contains the single versions of all the songs, especially her biggest hit, Don't Be A Stranger, which is completely revamped from the So Close album.

Biography

Born: August 21, 1968 in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s

Combining the early soul-pop of Mariah Carey, the power balladry of Whitney Houston, and the sophisticated dance-pop of M People, Dina Carroll was one of the most successful U.K. female vocalists of the '90s. Born in Newmarket, Suffolk in 1968 to a Scottish mother and Afro-American G.I. father, Carroll began singing with her sister at a young age, and after winning a talent competition at school, she decided to pursue a career in the music industry. In her teens, she moved to West London after signing...
Full Bio
The Very Best of...Dina Carroll, Dina Carroll
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  • Partial Album
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Vocal, Rock
  • Released: Jun 06, 2001

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