In Brief

Sparkle is similar to Aaliyah, R. Kelly's last protege. Her youthful, urban-angel style is innocently wistful but worldly-wise. A seething, resentful duet with Kelly on "Be Careful" is sweetly balanced by her version of Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You." It lacks the original's sultry playfulness, but Sparkle hits those high notes in just as thrilling a fashion. She's a major '98 contender.

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