Album review: Kristinia DeBarge's 'Exposed'
Accordingly, the pleasures on "Exposed" are familiar ones -- there's even a track titled "Cried Me a River." Another is called "Died in Your Eyes," though it's unlikely that 19-year-old DeBarge's target audience includes anyone old enough to remember the Cutting Crew hit its title echoes.
Of course, among pop's central virtues is the fact that on the radio, familiarity rarely breeds contempt. Although DeBarge, who'll open Britney Spears' arena tour later this year, has nothing unique to say about falling in or out of love, what she does have -- strong tunes, a nice voice and an ample supply of fresh-faced charm -- is far more important.
She's best in two tracks co-written by another savvy recycler, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic: "Future Love," originally recorded last year by the ill-fated boy band Varsity Fanclub, and "Speak Up," which Tedder also produced in his signature emo-soul style (think of Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love"). Neither is shocking; both are awesome.
-- Mikael Wood
SodaPop / Island
Two and a half stars