It's Me Again (Atlantic)

After scoring a top-three debut and one of the all-time great self-stimulation songs, "Oops (Oh My)," no one expected Tweet to fly the coop. But there went her skirt, and there went Tweet; except for a cameo in the film Honey, the last two years have been quiet for the Missy Elliott protégé.

The restrained and mature southern soul of It's Me Again is the best explanation for her absence: Tweet is a different bird than her peers, and this album -- a classy but comfy pair of Levi's in a glitz-obsessed urban world -- proves it. Especially the delicate "Taxi," which follows Tweet on a cab ride to meet a lover. It could have been a simple booty call, but her clear, unaffected alto takes the song higher. Even Elliott's randy presence is more distracting than helpful: The disco thumper "Things I Don't Mean" and "We Don't Need No Water" are good enough for anyone's dance floor, but sound like they belong on someone else's album. Tweet, in fact, says it best on "Sports, Sex and Food," a defiantly un-P.C. guide to landing a man: "You at the club/Shakin' it all night/Wonderin' why you can't find Mr. Right." Some fans, at least, will stay home, listening to Tweet.


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