It’s always the third one. We had Billy Idol, that sucked, B-52’s, that rocks, and then fucking Pump Up The Jam! Then, we have R.E.M, which is kind of good, EMF, which was average, and now we have Hip-Hop and R&B, which granted, is not exactly my area of knowledge. So, who are we talking about today? Bell Biv DeVoe. Who are they? Well, for me, they will always be part of New Edition.
New Edition was a seventies Boston R&B, comprising of mostly five members, Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie Devoe (the three latter are, obviously enough, Bell Biv DeVoe) that pretty much was the first concrete group that resembled what we would call a Boy Band… you know, that group of people that sing and dance but don’t actively play any instruments in their songs and are more appreciated for their good looks than anything else and no wonder I didn’t pay that much attention. So, I already start the review with some bias, as, I’m not kidding, New Edition was to symbolize that they were a new edition of the Jackson 5. Who would ever want aspire to be in a group that has one talent and four other innocuous people?.. aside from N’Sync…
So, three of the five guys in the group started another group? Why? That actually has an answer, but warning, I’m turning on the SENSELESS STUPIDITY ALERT. One of the guys from New Edition, Bobby Brown, was voted out because of his behavior, and while the group tried success as a quartet with barely any success (they even hired someone to fill his space, by the name of Johnny Gill), he managed to get a multi-platinum album. So, the group thought “Fuck It” and went on to pursue side projects. Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie Devoe said “fuck it” to the “fuck it” and started a trio, which was awarded with a three platinum album, this one. And the rest of the group, I’m talking about Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill, only in the group for 2 years tops, released self-titled albums… and got multi-platinum… both! So, what you’re telling me is that these 6 guys can’t work together for shit, but “alone” they are able to get platinums? What sense does that make? Have you ever heard of a group that broke up and EVERY SINGLE member on it had incredible success, going even further than what the band could do together? It doesn’t make any sense! After this, they realized that they made more success solo than together, but because of contractual… stuff, they had to reunite… and they had a monster success! So, what is the deal? True, they broke up soon after that, because they had rivalries and such, but come on!
The cover sucks beyond belief. Truly, it needs the mastermind of a master planner to come up with something as lame as this. I can do better, with WordArt. The three guys lazing on a Sunday afternoon bad-assedly with the name of the album and the name of the group printed on it. The albums runs for 47:28, with the shortest song being “Ain’t Nut’in’ Changed” with 3:30 and the longest one is… oh… oh, no… please, let it not be… it is! FUCK! The last track is an extended version of a preexistent song on the album! It’s Poison, again, but with 7:50! Run for yer lives!
As mentioned earlier, it was awarded with a quadruple platinum album in 1995, and was able to chart well on the top 200 and the R&B. So, let’s get this over with: this is Poison by Bell Biv DeVoe.
1st track: “Dope!” – Well, actually, it has a good beat to it. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this song. Is not a perfect, but the singing is top notch, the beat, although electronic and annoying, is not entirely bad… good even. The lyrics let it pretty confusing if the fact that the girl is dope is a good thing or not, or maybe I’m being confused because I don’t get what being “fly” is. The different vocals help the song and the rapping is… well… not excellent, but then again, I’m no rap critic, but it seems to be quite clever. There is a piano (probably digital) that I enjoyed giving some sort of a classy feel that isn’t bad at all. As the first track… it’s promising, at minimum.
2nd track: “B.B.D (I Thought It Was Me)?” – The beat didn’t change, and that scares me a bit. Well… for those that aren’t bright, BBD are the initials to Bell Biv Devoe. And, as any mortal, I thought this song was about the band, kind of like a Sultans of Swing, y’know? But… the lyrics are also about a girl. I don’t get it. It has the theme that most R&B songs of today have, and that bugs me. The different vocals are pretty cool, and it reminds me of some of those R&B groups of yore. However, the song definitely isn’t strong enough to be anything on its own… the bass is cool, though.
3rd track: “Let Me Know Something!?” – Try saying the title of this song out loud without sounding strange, can you do it? Neither can I. Okay… the beat is the same, as always. Ignoring the beat, the song is boring and unimaginative… at least for today standards. It’s one of those “you didn’t see me, now I’m rich you’re all over me, go fuck yourself” type of song, and I really don’t like it, because the singer passes the whole first half glorifying her to then, to then telling her to go to hell. And the rapping is bad, oh so bad… This song is the first one so far that I really have nothing to say about it.
4th track: “Do Me!” – This song sounds so much as many K-Pop songs that I already danced on Pump. The lyrics are a song asking for sex from the girl… I’m getting pretty bored of these songs talking about the girl on the dancefloor… and so far, this is the first one that I have to say that Weird Al did a disservice, since the song in question is slowly and, may I say it, kind of sensual, while Weird Al did a sped up version of it with polka… not saying that Weird Al’s version is bad, it’s just so different that it is laughable. The beat is the same, with the same type of singing that is really annoying by now. The lyrics “Take Off Your Clothes but Keep On Your Shoes” was meant to be taken serious, but hell if I will. In all fairness, this song has some soul to it, but it wasn’t made for people like me, so I didn’t like it.
5th track: “Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph and Johnny (Word to the Mutha)!” – For the title that it has, I was expecting something completely different. For starters, something good, but I digress: I was expecting a bashing song, even if made for gags, like little inside jokes (Yes, I’m thinking “And Harry Doesn’t Mind if He doesn’t Make the Scene/He Got a Day Time Job, He’s Doing Alright”), but we have an sort of emotional song about them being reunited and friends and, of course… it doesn’t work. See, we know the story nowadays, before they didn’t have a clue what was in store for them, but it is clear to me now that they didn’t have exactly grand feelings of reuniting. And by the way, “Mutha”? As in how people of the community call their own “Mutha”? Come on, they say it wrong, doesn’t mean they write it wrong. Sing “Mutha”, write Mother, dumb asses.
6th track: “Poison” – Oh, I know this song! I was looking all over for it. It appears on Scrubs, I remember that tune! Let’s check this out. Oh, how did they make this? They made a perfect segment, really catchy tune, and ruin it. Come fucking on, the song is rubbish, mainly because I’ve had it in so high regard. The good singing comes back, but of course, the rest is lame. The lyrics are a bad type of “the girl is a skank” … or “the girl as an STD”… with the same beat as always. I’m not looking forward to the extended version… I really didn’t like what they did with their own song.
7th track: “Ain’t Nut’in’ Change” – Okay, funny song, I’ll give you that. It starts with a completely different intro, and then proclaims that fact, like “okay, let’s have an intro” and that is pretty funny. However, after the intro, the song devolves into what it was before… and that is not good. The same beat with some disc scratches that aren’t exactly easy on the ear, but at least it’s a bit different, and this time, it is sort of an introductory song, with them saying something about them… but the rapping is not good. I really hate rapping. The whole song has a different beat, that reminds me of “Toejam and Earl”, but it’s not good.
8th track: “When Will I See You Again” – …a Ballad. WTF a Ballad? The theme of the lyrics it’s the same as always: a girl. The main singing is Bieber effeminate, while the others give a more straight forward deliverance. It’s a good R&B ballad, but then again, I didn’t hear that many of them… probably they exist. My problem are two: it’s a ballad, followed by the books, no try to be any different; and it’s the same lyrical problem. Ever since they started the album, they are talking about women, nonstop… and that is really lame. Lame as an N’Sync album.
9th track: “I Do Need You” – Another ballad? Who thought this album out? It has to be a mixed genre, if not it gets really boring. It reminds me, slightly, of that fucker of a song called Endless Love. It’s a slow song about women, again, what’s the matter with these people? The singing is average at most, the beat is exactly the same as prior, but slow… this song doesn’t take any chances: really, you heard this song before. It’s one of those songs many people copied… many even them copied, maybe they started it… but it’s lame, slow and has been made by people far better. As this is the last real track, I can say that as a regular outro, it didn’t please me at all.
10th track: “Poison (Extended Club Version)” – Time to bitch about. What’s this idea? Who had this idea? Really, who did? This is a horrible, horrible idea. I don’t have any problem with songs that get remixed as hidden bonus tracks, like Gorillaz debut, but to have the same song extended, with more pieces with only the horrible lame ass beat we have been hearing? It uses the exact same recording as the original version of Poison, and that is lame… all their songs are beat infested, all their songs have a piece of electronic huzza-maguzza, why wouldn’t they make this one the original version? Or, I know it’s not a way out, release a single as the extended version? It would definitely sell, DJs would buy them by the pound. Why jab it here? It doesn’t make any sense. This song has worn me out, again. As an outro, is definitely bad. It leaves the album with a bad taste on the ear. It’s bad.
So how does it all hold up? For me, it doesn’t. It wasn’t as bad as Pump Up The Jam, it’s just so average… as average as EMF. It had some moments, and it was interesting to do a backstory search on these guys, but that’s it. The album has no value whatsoever… well… maybe if you like R&B and Hip-hop… more R&B than Hip-hop, it might be cool to see some of the representatives of what the New Edition were up to, or part of the early nineties R&B, although we have a lot of others to set up the example. My verdict so far is that the early nineties weren’t that good in the music department.
This is JotaKa, signing off.
Next week (yes, next week), we will dive right into Metallica’s Metallica (or black album to some). See ya!