THERE'S NOTHING the least bit subtle about Anne Murray's intentions on "Something to Talk About." No longer content with her "Snowbird" image, and resisting the notion that her audience is limited to the country music market where she's recently racked up a slew of awards, Murray has set her sights on the pop charts. She's even recruited three hot producers -- David Foster (Chicago), Jack White (Laura Branigan) and Keith Diamond (Billy Ocean) -- to make sure her aim is true.
The result is certainly a more contemporary, vibrant sound. On several tracks, the warm alto voice that has made Murray such a popular balladeer over the years gives way to a keening soprano, easily penetrating the largely electronic orchestrations so that the lyrics aren't lost in the mix.
Unfortunately, not all those lyrics seem worthy of the singer's talent, and it seems just a tad ironic that on an album that avoids ballads for the most part, it's the slow tempo pieces like "On and On" and "When You're Gone" that are the most memorable. Still, Murray has no difficulty demonstrating her pop potential with a voice of power and grace. All that's missing are a few exceptional songs.