Discography Check: New Edition (1983-1996)

By @TrueGodImmortal 

Right now, the world is in full New Edition appreciation mode. For all the adulation and love they're getting from the majority of the world, we know that many have little knowledge about the history of New Edition, the legacy as a group, and solo projects. The heyday of New Edition could be seen as being from 1983, when they first released their album to the end of their Home Again tour in 1996-1997. During that period, we got some great group albums, some classic solo albums, and some missteps. Today, we look back at the New Edition run from 1983-1996 including solo albums from the members (Johnny will only be mentioned from 1987 and on, since he didn't join the group until then). Let's get into it.

*New Edition- Candy Girl (1983)

-The debut of possibly the greatest group in the history of R&B. The young singers would debut with a bang, and a very good introduction as the vocals of Ralph mostly helped to carry the album. The production here is your standard 80s R&B style, but it works really well on songs like the classic "Is This The End" and of course, the infamous title track, which is still a favorite for many of us. Though the album was a little rough around the edges, it still had enough bounce and solid vocal work to make it a full listen.

Top 3 Songs
"Is This The End"
"Candy Girl"
"Jealous Girl"

*New Edition- New Edition (1984)

-The self titled sophomore album from the group is a true classic. Though they weren't much older and their voices weren't full developed yet, they still came with an album that was nearly flawless in sound and execution. After breaking away from Maurice Starr, the group slowly attempted to work their way into young adulthood and with songs like "Mr. Telephone Man", "Lost In Love", and of course "Cool It Now", there was a balance between the youthful appeal of the group and the image they would eventually gravitate to in later years. Still an album full of youth and poise, this was a hint at the growth with the group.

Top 3 Songs
"Mr. Telephone Man"
"Cool It Now"
"I'm Leaving You Again"

*New Edition- All For Love (1985)

-An album that is somewhat forgotten when speaking of New Edition, this was a very solid project and the last official album with Bobby Brown as a part of the group. While songs like the title track, "School", and "Kickback" all employ that traditional youthful sound of NE, the album still has some elements to it that furthers their growth slightly like "Whispers In Bed" and "Who Do You Trust". Not a bad album by any stretch, just slightly lower in quality than the previous two.

Top 3 Songs
"Whispers In Bed"
"All For Love"
"Count Me Out"

*New Edition- Christmas All Over The World (1985)

-I'll make a slight mention of this short Christmas EP that some may have forgot was even released. Only 6 songs here, the group managed to bring a solid sound to Christmas.

*New Edition- Under The Blue Moon (1986)

-Released in November 1986, this was the only album with them as a four man group. With no Bobby, the group relied heavily on Ralph as usual, but something about this album just doesn't feel right. It's hard to describe what feels like it is missing here, but the sounds and production of the old school concept here do work well, it's just that as a foursome, there is something off about the group. Still there are some songs here that work, and it showcased why Ralph was the driving force of the group. His vocals were top notch and shined the most here.

Top 3 Songs
"Earth Angel"
"A Thousand Miles Away"
"What's Your Name"

*Bobby Brown- King of Stage (1986)

-Bobby went solo and interestingly enough released an album a few weeks after NE. This album was pretty good and a minor hit, as Bobby got what he wanted all along: The solo spotlight. The songs here are pretty dope, but the best song here is the first single, "Girlfriend", which shows Bobby doing exactly what he does best. Overall, the album wasn't a classic necessarily, but it had enough solid music to be a very enjoyable listen.

Top 3 Songs
"Spending Time"
"Girl Next Door"

New Edition- Heartbreak (1988)

-This album was the coming of age for NE. Now back to a 5 man group with the inclusion of vocalist and friend of the group, Johnny Gill, this album was beyond what you expected. Interestingly enough, this was released around the same time as the 2nd solo Bobby Brown album (noted as released on the same day), done purposely by MCA I'm sure to piggyback off the tour they'd have together. So, NE would still be closely connected to Bobby and also have Johnny as a new member and the secondary lead vocalist after Ralph. Working with the hottest producers at the time, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. This helped the group elevate their sound and all of the songs here work amazingly. This album is not only a New Edition classic, but one of the best group R&B albums ever, if not the best ever. The title track, "You're Not My Kind of Girl", "Boys To Men", "Can You Stand The Rain", and "If It Isn't Love" are all classic tracks and feature some top notch vocals. Once again, this album is what officially solidified New Edition as adults musically and in the eyes of the public.

Top 3 Songs
"Can You Stand The Rain"
"If It Isn't Love"
"You're Not My Kind of Girl"

Bobby Brown- Don't Be Cruel (1988)

-This is one of the top 10 greatest albums ever. Bobby was on top of the world, working with Babyface and LA Reid to make something epic. The end result was nothing short of classic, as the title track, "Every Little Step", "My Prerogative", "Roni", and "Rock Witcha" all became hits and all time classic songs. The best part about the album is that it is literally an entire project of classic songs and hit records, and outside of the mega singles, the album has more gems like "Take It Slow" and "I Really Love You Girl". Bobby would see this album sell over 7 million copies and make him the 2nd biggest star in the world at the time under Michael Jackson.

Top 3 Songs
"I Really Love You Girl"
"Every Little Step"

*Ralph Tresvant- Ralph Tresvant (1990)

-The long awaited solo album from the voice of NE came and gained the success he was due for, though of all the other members saw slightly bigger success than him. Ralph came with a huge hit single in "Sensitivity", and the album flows very well. However, of all the solo endeavors during this era, I'd say he has the worst album of them all, but it's still a very solid project for the most part. Ralph can sing, but I think the issue was some of the songs here just didn't fit. Babyface, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and all the producers here however did make sure the production was great and that's a plus of this album.

Top 3 Songs
"Stone Cold Gentlemen"
"She's My Love Thang"

*Johnny Gill- Johnny Gill (1990)

-Johnny was already a solo artist before joining New Edition, so this wasn't much of a transition for him like it was the other guys. Johnny comes with some very solid tracks here, and his best work on the album is with the mega producers Babyface and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Working with the top hit makers in music helped Johnny with this album, and the single "My, My, My" along with the New Jack Swing anthem "Rub You The Right Way" complete this album and made Johnny sound like a star.

Top 3 Songs
"My, My, My"
"Rub You The Right Way"
"Fairweather Friend"

*Bell Biv Devoe- Poison (1990)

-If 1988 was the year of New Edition and Bobby, then 1990 was the year of New Edition and their solo projects. Well this wasn't a solo project per se, but this let the three lesser members of the group to shine with their hip hop influenced debut album. Songs like the title track, "Do Me", "She's Dope" and more let us know that BBD wasn't like what we were used to seeing in New Edition. It provided an edge for the group as a whole and BBD won big on this classic album.

Top 3 Songs
"When Will I See You Smile Again"
"Do Me"

*Bobby Brown- Bobby (1992)

-This album was slept on in a way. Though not as good or big as Don't Be Cruel, this was still a solid project overall and despite the odd cover (Bobby had some odd fashion choices at times), it just happened to work. From the Whitney collaboration "Something In Common", which was showcased and used to show their love for one another, to the hit single "Humpin Around", Bobby was still on top of the world, as this album would sell over 3 million copies.

Top 3 Songs
"That's the Way Love Is"
"Humpin Around"
"Something In Common"

*Bell Biv Devoe- Hootie Mack (1993)

-The less said about this album, the better. BBD struck gold on the first album, but on this project, it seemed as if they lost their way. Blame it on the distance between the other members of the group and them, but this album just missed the mark. The Babyface assisted "Something In Your Eyes" was the best song here, but there was something missing from this album that made Poison a classic. It's still an enjoyable listen of course, it just missed the mark on vital points.

Top 3 Songs
"Something In Your Eyes"
"Please Come Back"

*Johnny Gill- Provocative (1993)

-Johnny was very comfortable in the solo role and despite the rest of the group (most of them) suffering the sophomore solo slump, Johnny was on his fifth album and comfortable alone. This album is underrated and features more production from the top hit makers of the era from Babyface to Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to even the top supergroup Boyz II Men. Johnny pulled out all the stops here and despite the album not being as successful as the self titled project previously, this was a solid release and very enjoyable listen.

Top 3 Songs
"Tell Me How U Want It"
"There U Go"
"Long Way From Home"

*Ralph Tresvant- It's Goin Down (1994)

-It seems as if when the New Edition brothers aren't too closely connected that they tend to lose their way musically. Ralph, who had a solid first album, fails here and doesn't avoid the sophomore jinx. I think that without the rest of the guys behind him, Ralph falters just a little bit, but there are a few songs worth the listen here like "Who's The Mack", the title track, and "You'll Remember Me". The album is essentially rooted in nothing but sexual content and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, it also limits the album and the potential vocally and sound wise in a way.

Top 3 Songs
"You'll Remember Me"
"It's Goin Down"
"My Aphrodisiac"

*Johnny Gill- Let's Get The Mood Right (1996)

-If Johnny does one thing well besides his vocals, it's picking the right producers to work with. Here with usual collaborator  Babyface handling production duties along with Tony Rich and more, this album is very very enjoyable. I recently mentioned it in an article so I won't go into many details, but this was the right album at the right time for him.

Top 3 Songs
"Someone To Love"
"Let's Get The Mood Right"

*New Edition- Home Again (1996)

-I sometimes think this album is truly slept on because it's one of the best New Edition albums, just right under Heartbreak if I'm being honest. Now with the group as grown men, matured and more comfortable as artists, they work very well here. From the hit single "Hit Me Off" to "I'm Still In Love With You" and the title track, this was truly one of those albums that wasn't appreciated as much as it should have been back in the late 90s. I'd call this a classic if I'm being honest.

Top 3 Songs
"I'm Still In Love With You"
"You Don't Have To Worry"
"Hit Me Off"



Popular Posts