These frequent stains on Babyface's legacy are only partially erased by a credible quartet vocal of a new 'Face tune, "I Care About You," featuring Jodeci's K-Ci and JoJo, and by the appearance of Stevie Wonder, who reprises his searing duet with 'Face on the closer "How Come, How Long." Yes, the song is a tad overwrought, as is the portentous cover of "The Day (That You Gave Me A Son)."

But both songs--the former a tale of spousal abuse, the latter an ode to fatherhood--remind us that 'Face has come a long way from the formulaic, naughty-but-nice romanticism of "Whip Appeal." What happens when the infatuation fades? Sometimes violence, sometimes renewal--but always something more emotionally profound. That's where Babyface seems to be heading, giving us yet another reason to dismiss ill-conceived projects like this, which cut off the journey at the pass.

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