Entertainment Weekly - 11/3/95, p.65
"On her 14th album in 21 years, the West Indian-born singer-songwriter proves why she still deserves an audience. Moving easily from light jazz to reggae to R&B/funk and ballads, she uses her calm, rosewood voice to ferret out hidden emotions..." - Rating: B+
Dirty Linen - 2-3/96, p.93
"...It starts out with "In Your Eyes", a tender ethereal love song in which the deep-voiced Armatrading whispers over a bed of throbbing synthesizers....She returns to her strengths on the second song...where Armatrading belts it out...".
Initial pressings of the 2003 Denon version of WHAT'S INSIDE contain a bonus DVD featuring videos of "Everyday Boy" and "Recommend My Love"
Personnel: Joan Armatrading (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars); Hojah Farah (acoustic guitar); BJ Cole (slide guitar); Boz Burrell (penny whistle); Peter Robinson, Greg Phillinganes, Benmont Tench, Todd Cochran (keyboards); Tony Levin, Darryl Jones (bass); Manu Katche (drums); Alex Acuna (percussion); Terry Evans, K. La, Ray Williams, Willie Green, Jr. (background vocals); The London Metropolitan Orchestra; Kronos Quartet; Memphis Horns.
Recorded at A&M Studios, Los Angeles, California.
One of Joan Armatrading's darkest and most sonically adventurous albums, 1995's WHAT'S INSIDE--her first album for RCA after a 22-year association with A&M--finds the singer/songwriter in a more contemplative mood without sacrificing the power and emotion of her earlier work. Songs like "In Your Eyes,"--the sort of song Armatrading did for 15 years before Tracy Chapman, her vocal doppelganger, achieved tremendous commercial and critical acclaim for doing the exact same thing--the gentle, acoustic "Back of the Road," the jazzy, vibes-laden "Everyday Boy," and the archetypally Armatradingesque "Shapes and Sizes" are all excellent and heartfelt. The Kronos Quartet and the Memphis Horns both guest, though unfortunately not on the same songs.