Dwayne Wiggins Eyes Never Lie

As a former member of Tony! Toni! Toné!, Dwayne Wiggins often deferred the spotlight to his half-brother Raphael Saadiq, and Eyes Never Lie, his solo debut, suggests that recognition as a solo artist isn't going to happen any time soon. "I'm not that average nasty little R&B singer," he sings on the humorous "R&B Singer." While I wished the lyric was directed at the terminally irritable Sisqo, the comment is really Wiggins' effort to assert his artistic difference. In doing so, he takes on too much. The album's lead single, "What's Going On," interpolates the Marvin Gaye song of the same name along with Billie Holiday's standard "Strange Fruit" and grafts them onto his own personal tale of police brutality. While the historical continuum Wiggins is trying to convey is noted, the surprisingly lightweight musical execution doesn't do justice to the gravity of the classic songs or the subject matter. For the most part, Eyes Never Lie ranks as pleasant yet forgettable; aside from "R&B Singer," many of songs just aren't that memorable. The cause isn't helped by some seriously cringe-worthy lyrics, "Let's Make A Baby" is particularly corny and is representative of the dross Wiggins claims he's trying to avoid. (Motown)