Des’ree’s Dream Soldier finally hit the shops last week, five years since her third album Supernatural. As we reported in May, it’s had a tortuous history since Sony first sent out preview copies last year under the title Lip Gloss Junkies. This false start suggests a lack of confidence in the product and, looking at it dispassionately, one would find it hard to predict a runaway success for Dream Soldier, despite Des’ree’s illustrious career to date. Many of her faithful fans have moved on by now, and without a string of hit singles, an album like this won’t hang around too long in the charts. Compare Sony’s recent release of another black female solo artist, Beyonce; her new album contains four or five pretty obvious hit singles. Des’ree had a little chart success in the UK with the first single from Dream Soldier, It’s Okay, but it’s hard to see anything else here likely to do better. Why? could be a contender, despite its eccentric instrumentation (a prominent banjo, for goodness sake) and Doesn’t Matter has a nice uptempo sound, though it’s certainly not another You Gotta Be, Des’ree’s biggest hit to date. She’s true to her vision, writing all her own material, but maybe it’s time to share that vision with some more inspiring collaborators.

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