_ After the hype and over-hype of "Gypsy Woman" dies down we still have a good album in "Surprise". This has an interesting mixture of House and R&B tracks which makes it a strong album. The fact that Basement Boys produced it helps out as well -- Basement Boys is now a world-wide phenom! Baltimore was very well represented.


_ Crystal Waters is forever to be linked with her monster 1991 smash "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)", a song that was evenly praised and condemned. Who can forget Kim Wayans's highly hilarious parody featured on "In Living Color"? Based on the strength of this album's hit single "100% Pure Love", a disco dynamo, I purchased the disc. Well, some eight years later, I see the songwriter behind the throbbing beats. Waters displays versatility in her writing that others work a lifetime to achieve. The songs range from the playfully erotic (the previously mentioned "100%" and the equally suggestive "What I Need") to a 90's version of a "torch song" in the title cut, along with a tune of social commentary ("Listen For My Beep"). She throws in a little inspirational ditty with the dance-friendly "Relax". The best cut, however, samples heavily from the Fifth Dimension's "Stone Cold Picnic." "Ghetto Day" allow Waters to deftly explore the balance between the sadness and joys of life in the urban jungle. It may be dark, at times, but the sun does eventually shine. And Waters, herself, gives off many "rays" on this above-average album.