Love Confessions, Miki Howard


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The substantial success of “Baby, Be Mine” and “That’s What Love Is” helped define Miki Howard as a master of the simmering love song. The latter song, co-performed by Gerald Levert, is a great example of Howard’s ability to bring crackling intensity to what might otherwise be a fairly simple piece of pop-oriented R&B. But that’s the kind of singer Howard was—she made her partners better and elevated her material, even when it was somewhat generic. Some of the best songs on 1987’s Love Confessions are its least heard. The skipping, shimmering “Bitter Love,” with its call-and-response chorus, provides a fresh twist on Howard’s gospel roots, while “Edge of Love” is one her smoothest, catchiest tunes. As a vocalist, Howard was so light on her feet that it’s somewhat surprising that these uptempo gems didn’t become her biggest hits. Then again, when you experience the smoldering atmosphere of “Reasons” and “Crazy,” or even the more traditional “You’ve Changed,” it’s obvious why fans loved the singer when she slowed down. Where the lusty material might have engulfed other singers, ballads only served to heighten Howard’s focus.


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