DAR Music: Ranking Babyface's Albums

By @TrueGodImmortal 

Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds is the greatest songwriter of all time. That's not just an opinion, that's honestly fact. There's no denying that this man has crafted hits, perfect ballads, and brokenhearted songs not only for himself, but for other artists especially. His work tends to be highlighted in the albums he's contributed to for many other artists, but his own personal work has seen some classics without a doubt. Today, we decide to look at his catalog, his albums and rank them from the worst to the best. What will be no. 1? Read on to find out.

9. Playlist (2007)

-This is more so a covers album than a full original album, but this is another showcase and display of his artistry. With two original compositions included on this album, it's hard to really rank it, but the covers here don't necessarily do the originals justice or stand as better. It's a few good covers here and the original songs are pretty good, but overall this album just lacks enough to take any higher.

Top 3 Songs 
"Fire And Rain"
"Not Going Anywhere"

8. Face2Face (2001)

-I remember when this came out, many people told me this album was great. Granted I was young and just hitting those teenage years when this dropped, but a lot of people loved the combination of Babyface and The Neptunes. Personally, I wasn't the biggest fan of it, as I found some of the sounds to not fit well with Face, but he has his moments here as with every album. However, songs like "What If", "Baby Mama", "Work It Out", and "Still In Love With U" just stick out in the worse way possible, and though I enjoyed songs like "There She Goes" and "Stressed Out", they showcase the slight laziness of the Neptunes, as these tracks sound almost identical. Still, there's enough here to enjoy, just a lack of cohesion in the album.

Top 3 Songs 
"Outside In/Inside Out"
"There She Goes"
"Wish U Was My Girl"

7. Grown And Sexy (2005)

-While this wasn't necessarily a bad album, as I think Babyface doesn't have a bad album, it wasn't his best and was far from it. He had some good songs here, but for the most part, you could tell he was trying to adapt to the sound of the 2000s, which worked for a few tracks, but there's a bit of a feeling that it's forced and not a genuine progression. Plus with vocal recognition, Babyface didn't really work well on songs like "Goin' Outta Business", the bland "The Loneliness", the slightly corny title track (Grown & Sexy was so overused during that time), and another track or two that just didn't work. However, when the songs worked, they worked very well and showed glimpses of Babyface back in his prime.

Top 3 Songs 
"Can't Stop Now"
"Mad Sexy Cool"

6. Love, Marriage, and Divorce w/ Toni Braxton (2014)

-I'm honestly shocked this album was as good as it turned out to be in 2014. After the albums he released during the 2000s, I had my doubts about this album very much. However, Babyface didn't disappoint at all on this particular project, handling the bulk of the production and writing, and Toni came with the vocals we know and love her for. It was a great way to bring both back into the limelight and this was a great thing to hear them together, as Babyface brought Toni into the music game to begin with. This is the type of adult contemporary R&B that we needed from both of them, and to do it together worked perfectly, as they scored a top 5 album on the charts and the singles also charted well. The great songs are plentiful and there's only a few tracks I skipped, making this a very good album in his catalog to revisit.

Top 3 Songs 
"Roller Coaster"
"Hurt You"
"The D Word"

5. Return Of the Tender Lover (2015)

-After Babyface found his rhythm with Toni, he seemed to be comfortable once again in his artistry and doing what we does best. Thus, this slept on and overlooked 2015 album was exactly what he needed and his best solo album to come since the late 90s. Regaining your form after a few missteps is never easy, but Babyface just let the vocals flow and the production remain smooth, as he furthers the type of adult contemporary R&B that we have grown to love and expect from him. The smart decision here was to limit the guest appearances to legends like El Debarge and After 7, and with a short near perfect tracklist, the album is like a throwback mixed in with some jazzy elements of today, making it the perfect return for the self proclaimed Tender Lover.

Top 3 Songs 
"I Want You"
"Love and Devotion"
"We've Got Love"

4. The Day (1996)

-A lot of people are very fond of this album. Me, personally? Not as much. I really think it's a good album, but if we are talking importance to his catalog and how vital the album is when also considering quality in rank, then there's no way this should be in the top 3, but it will definitely be top 4/5 in his catalog. He has some great songs here, but this album lacks something that his best albums had and that's charisma and flare. It has some all time Babyface classics, but there's some tracks here that just walk the line of being good. All in all, it's a well rounded album, it just slightly lacks in an area or two to me personally. However, it features some of his biggest tracks and most notable collaborations so it has to be higher up on the list. Plus, who can deny "Every Time I Close My Eyes"?

Top 3 Songs 
"Every Time I Close My Eyes"
"The Day (That You Gave A Son)"
"I Said I Love You"

3. Lovers (1986)

-The most underrated album in the Babyface catalog, this debut project is honestly much better than its been given credit for over the years. It features the right blend of smooth production and vocals, and hints at the soon to be trend of New Jack Swing that would come into fruition years later. The origin of the greatest songwriter begins here, as he utilizes his success with the Deele and experience and transfers it into this solo debut. I love this album and some of his best songs truly are here. The title track is an all time classic from Face that needs to be mentioned just as much as his more popular songs.

Top 3 Songs 
"I Love You Babe"

2. For The Cool In You (1993)

-Picking between the top two choices is much tougher than I realized it would be. The album that made me a fan of Babyface is his 2nd, but the one that really grabbed my attention as I was in school was this album. Full of huge singles and hits, Babyface was in his element here and it absolutely worked. I still listen to this album and songs from it frequently, especially the singles. If someone had this one as no. 1 on their personal list I wouldn't be mad at all. Picking these two top options is honestly like flipping a coin. Either one would work because they're both classics in his catalog.

Top 3 Songs 
"Never Keeping Secrets"
"For The Cool In You"
"When Can I See You"

1. Tender Lover (1989)

-This album is one of the best R&B albums to come from the late 80s and one of my all time favorites. Babyface was really in a zone when he came with this one, and this would take his popularity to the next level and solidify him as not only a great songwriter, but a great artist as well. The vibe here is New Jack Swing, and if there was anyone who fit that era perfectly, it was him. One of the architects of the era, when we look back at New Jack Swing and R&B in general, this album has to be mentioned at the top of that list. It's certainly on the top of my list, and I don't think there's one bad song on this album. My two favorites? Of course, "Whip Appeal" and "Soon As I Get Home", which solidified Babyface as one of the smoothest R&B artists ever.

Top 3 Songs
"Soon As I Get Home"
"Whip Appeal"

Babyface is a legend and one of the greatest to ever do it. His albums are just a piece of his legacy, which sounds crazy when you think about it, but during the late 80s and 90s, I don't think anybody did it better.



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