Header Ads

DAR Music: Jodeci's Diary of A Mad Band

By @TrueGodImmortal 



Tracklist 
1. My Heart Belongs To You 
2. Cry For You 
3. Feenin' 
4. What About Us 
5. Ride And Slide 
6. Alone 
7. You Got It 
8. Won't Waste You 
9. In The Meanwhile 
10. Gimme All You Got 
11. Sweaty 
12. Jodecidal Hotline 
13. Success 


Introduction
For me, Jodeci is the greatest R&B group of all time. That is probably due to the era I grew up in and some admitted bias, but once again, that's just my opinion. However, after their hugely successful debut "Forever My Lady", Jodeci carved a lane with hip hop sensibility in their music carried over from the New Jack Swing sound. One could really argue that Jodeci was New Jack Swing and that's definitely debatable, but I see the group as one of the pioneers of the 90s R&B classic wave. After "Forever My Lady" dropped in 1991, they would see multi platinum success, along with nationwide acclaim for their blend of rugged image, smoothed out R&B, and anthems that could turn any club in the 90s into a sing along. After the first album, it was time for the group to try and fight that sophomore jinx.

How do you combat the sophomore jinx after a debut classic? By changing up the sound just a bit more. After Boyz II Men seemed to position themselves as the group to provide the softer melodies and harmony, Jodeci decided to come back with a slightly more hip hop orientated sound and allowed Devante Swing to really flex his muscles as a producer. Mixing a blend of sexually charged rhythms and soft ballad like production, Jodeci was essentially the balance in R&B, and the sound is attributed to no one other than Devante.

At the time, Devante would be mentoring an up and coming producer from Virginia who would end up becoming a popular name in music. His name was Timbaland, I'm sure you've heard of him. Along with Timbaland, a young lady named Misdemeanor would also make an appearance on the album. She would come to be known as Missy Elliott, a big star in her own right. With a nice small supporting cast, along with control over the songs that would be worked on (Dalvin, Devante, JoJo and K-Ci took turns writing the songs, with Devante and Dalvin handling most of the duties), Jodeci set out to create another classic album. Would they succeed? Let's look at this album track by track.



Track By Track Breakdown


*My Heart Belongs To You
This is one of my personal favorite Jodeci songs and a great way to kick off the album. The production has a bit of a G-Funk appeal to it, with the heavy synths and bass, and the drums were 100% hip hop. In addition to the hip hop sound, the harmonies were so rich in the chorus as they sang proudly "whatever you want... whatever you need.....my heart belongs to you... whatever you need... There's nothing I won't do". This is possibly the best song on the entire album, and an R&B classic to me.

-10/10



*Cry For You
One of the most infamous songs from the group, and one of the softest songs in their catalog, the group breaks down and tells their ladies that they would cry for her. They don't want her to leave, they don't want to lose her, and if they have to, they will cry for her. It's your simple R&B ballad, but the harmony and the slow production takes it a notch higher. Yet another R&B all time classic and a perfect song if you ask me.

-10/10


*Feenin'
With Jodeci, you know you are going to get something sexual in the music, and we arrive at that point here with the third song of the album. Now, I love this song, but K-Ci remarking that he would give her anything just to have a hit of her love is a feeling that must be beyond euphoria. Though I can't relate exactly, the way the lyrics were put together paint the picture of just how addicted he is to this woman. Once again, the harmonies and infectious chorus make the song THAT much better.

-10/10


*What About Us
This song starts off with them harmonizing the bridge/hook of prior hit "Come And Talk To Me" in harmony as the official track begins. Honestly, I have a hard time finding anything wrong with this track as well, much like the first three. JoJo starts off the song, and I appreciate when he begins the song or vocally leads because it provides a slightly different element than K-CI and his voice. JoJo is essentially the main vocalist here through the verses and he carries the song perfectly, and though you can hear K-CI during the bridge and hook, this is JoJo's moment to shine. And it works.

-10/10


*Ride And Slide
The production here is pretty solid and is what you'd expect from a sexually charged track by the group. However, there is something missing a little from the song, minus the chorus, which is the best part of the song. The verses are a bit plain here, but overall this is still a good song. However, the hook is superb, and once again those Jodeci harmonies save the day.

-8/10


*Alone
In what K-CI remarked as "that west coast sound" in the beginning of the track, this is another favorite of the album for me. The production is very minimal, but it works with these vocals and the moment the hook comes on, you're captured instantly. The harmony of "Let's be ALONEEE" just works. Another song rooted in sex, but for fans of Jodeci, we know that's their expertise musically. There's more hip hop influence here, as there is a rapping verse here near the end of the song and that fits. This one works better than you'd think it would as the production began.

-9/10



*You Got It 
Keeping that hip hop feel in tact, the group enlists Redman to join them on this track, along with an opening interlude that features a powerful black ma... err... radio host Wendy Williams, before going into an interview of the group that leads right into a hungry Redman verse before Jodeci takes over. The harmonies and vocals are good here, but at times just a little uneven to me. A dope song, but not in the top tier of the tracks here.

-8/10

*Won't Waste You
Another track that I was unsure about when I first heard it many years ago, now when I hear it, I really enjoy it. The hip hop production is top notch here, and the hook is as well, but it's still not a standout song on here either. The vocals power this song like many others from Jodeci, because a lesser group might not have executed it as well. This track does Missy Elliott here and Sista on the track, who unfortunately don't add much, but it's pretty cool to see this is one of the first time we got introduced to Missy.

-8/10

*In The Meanwhile 
Timbaland is listed in the credits here, and he helped produced and arrange this with Devante, as well as putting a mini verse on here. That mini verse is nothing special and serves little purpose, but much like the Missy appearance, it is cool in retrospective. The song however is one of my least favorites, but it's still a solid track overall. I do tend to skip this one when I let the album play.

-7/10

*Gimme All You Got
Keeping the hip hop flavor of the album in tact, this track is pure early 90s hip hop mixed with the R&B sound. I love this track however and it's one of those infectious songs that will make you recite the chorus over and over. The minimal production works perfect, and as usual, the harmonies and vocals are just about perfect.

-9/10

*Sweaty
Aside from TEAM DAR sampling this track 2 years ago, I really wasn't THAT fond of the song. It has another infectious hook, and it's a typical Jodeci song, with Sista (and Missy) on it. However, it just doesn't work for me, at least in terms of how the sound carries throughout. The verses are also slightly bland overall, something Jodeci usually doesn't have an issue with.

-7/10


*Jodecidal Hotline 
Despite the horrible title, this track has some really nice production that's basically the synths and rhythms of the opening track "My Heart Belongs To You". This isn't necessarily an actual track, but more like an interlude or outro of sorts, but it's just all harmony and production, and that's perfect for the group. Add in the adlibs and the great vocals from K-Ci and you have a very solid outro that would be a perfect 10..... if not for the final part of it where they actually have a slight demonic voice take calls for the hotline. That almost ruins it, but it doesn't take away from the actual interlude/outro, it's just an odd way to try and end the album in essence.

-9/10


*Success
Originally released as a bonus track for the CD, this track is amazing. The production is perfect with the right amount of melody and hard drums to keep that hip hop sound and K-CI vocally carries the song. The way the music flows here is a prime example of Jodeci at their best and the best example of them infusing the hip hop sound into their R&B centered style. If I had to say so, this track is perfect and I can't find anything I don't like about it. Well done. This was the perfect way to end the entire album.

-10/10




Legacy
This album is personally a classic to me and while it is exactly perfect, I don't think there is a such thing as a perfect album really. Still, when picking between this album and Forever My Lady, a lot of people remark this album as the best Jodeci album and I agree. It had every element that we loved about Jodeci from the first album, but they showcased growth here with their heavy infusion of hip hop, which allowed them to stand out even more over the pack of R&B groups that were dominating and taking over. Jodeci is one of the greatest groups ever and I think this is the album that solidified them as legends of the R&B genre.

Overall: 9/10

-True 

No comments

Powered by Blogger.