On Baring the Soul: The Music of Marvin Gaye, Cassandre McKinley sings some of the late soul legend's greatest and most celebrated songs. Performing such classics as "Let's Get It On, "Your Precious Love, (which features a duet with vocalist John Pagano), "Trouble Man, "Pride and Joy, and "I Want You, Cassandre McKinley takes on the task of reinventing the music that helped propel Marvin Gaye to greatness. The songs selected for this recording are about hardship, pain, lust, and love, but unfortunately none of those experiences come through in any of McKinley's interpretations.
The thing that appears to hold this disc back and contribute to the lack of emotion in McKinley's vocals is the relationship between the vocals and the music. The musicians lead McKinley through each song, and she adjusts her vocals accordingly to fit the music. Most of the arrangements on Baring the Soul have been changed in some way"Pride and Joy, for example, gets a country and western spin, while "Let's Get it On has been acousticized. Although McKinley consistently delivers good vocals, she never truly bares her soul because she allows herself to follow the stylings of the musicians. And as a result, the meaning in the songs' lyrics is lost.
When an artist bares his or her soul, the intended audience can usually expect to be made privy to that person's truth. Baring the soul is about revealing and sharing what is on the inside (good and bad) and presenting who you are right in the midst of being. There are singers who have successfully shared their truths through music, but the really great singers can get audiences to understand the value of their own truthwith the right song. All in all, Baring the Soul is exactly what it claims to be, the music of Marvin Gaye. An album full of Marvin Gaye songs where the lyrics play second fiddle... ain't that peculiar?