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One Love

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Album Review

Nearly seven years removed from Home Again, New Edition's career has once again been resuscitated. The thanks this time around go solely to music juggernaut P. Diddy rescuing the group from what could have been a future filled with casino and dinner theater shows. Signing the group makes perfect business sense, as Diddy is obviously aligning NE with the other soul artists (Mario Winans, Loon) in his Bad Boy stable, and having a group with over two decades of loyal fans can only bring in more and more sales to his empire. And like those aforementioned artists, Diddy's production house has the magic touch and comes up with another winner of a record, One Love. After a self-congratulatory "Conference Call" for an intro, "Been So Long" lifts the record off properly and could possibly be the type of song Marvin Gaye would be writing and performing if he were around today. With the notable absence of Bobby Brown, the band favors more laid-back cuts than on Home Again, favoring the sultry vocals courtesy of Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill to anchor many of the tracks. The production is focused, mature, and fitting for a group with the members nearing their forties, even when the lyrics aren't: "All on You" comes across as a desperate attempt to target the younger audience and hang on to the wild days of youth, while "Best Man" is textbook Timberlake. "Rewrite the Memories" is also quite an appropriately titled song — as the opening piano line and chords appear to be based almost entirely on NE's classic "Can You Stand the Rain" and Force M.D.'s' "Tender Love," but that's actually quite fine as it's one of the best moments on the record and one of their finest ballads ever. All in all, it's a cohesive statement and another victory for a group with such a publicly documented and tumultuous career. It's also another jewel in the crown for Bad Boy, but here's hoping Diddy gets the guys back in the studio immediately. Seven years between New Edition records is far too long and is inexcusable.

Biography

Formed: 1982 in Boston, MA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

New Edition's early, Jackson 5-inspired material made them the forerunners of two generations of teen pop (most of which was geared to white audiences). As they matured and progressed, they laid much of the groundwork for the fusion of hip-hop and R&B known as new jack swing. In fact, after New Edition drifted apart, all of its members had at least some significant success outside the group as part of the new jack movement,...
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One Love, New Edition
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