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Aretha Franklin: Who's Zoomin' Who? (Arista)

Frank Owen, Melody Maker, 27 July 1985

SINCE HER Atlantic heyday, critics have bemoaned Aretha's descent into the rhetoric of showbiz glamour. They want her to return to the transcendent flights and Pentecostal possession of her so-called "roots". They want her to be that "natural woman" of soul mythology, the earth soul mama supreme. But that is no easy option given the demands of the American music industry, where black music has to be synth or rock-based in order to gain acceptance, has to partake in its own universal albinisation.

Total word count of piece: 269

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