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DAR Music: 8 Underrated R&B Third Albums Of The 90's

By @TrueGodImmortal

Well, after yesterday's article discussing the third albums from the hip hop side of things, it's only right that we do the same for the R&B genre in the 90's. We discussed the most important sophomore albums in the history of the genre, but today, we want to take a look at the underrated third albums that didn't get as much credit as they should have. While there are plenty of third albums in R&B that received credit and success, these 8 choices are the ones that stuck out the most to me yet haven't been given the love and accolades they deserved. Let's take a look at these choices.

*Silk- Tonight (1999)

-While many people love this album, it still seems to be slept on in comparison to the other projects that released in the decade. This is Silk with an updated sound, and it works for the most part. Fans of the group remember the impact that singles like "If You" and "Meeting In My Bedroom" had, as "If You" would prove to be the group's biggest hit since their debut. The album would end up going certified platinum and aside from the two hit singles, it features other smooth tracks like "Let's Make Love", "Please Don't Go", and "Love You Down". Silk is one of the most underrated groups of all time in the genre and this album showcased why they deserved more credit.

*H-Town- Ladies Edition, Woman's World (1997)

-I didn't really remember this album much, at least in the context of when it was first released. I was a fan of this group for their first two albums, but a year or two ago, I went back to discover and appreciate this album and I'm glad I did. With a more mature and endearing appeal to women (at least in theory), the album seemed to try and make up for any prior transgressions in their music to the ladies. While a noble concept, what matters the most is the actual sound of the music and despite the change in subject matter (to an extent), the album has that H-Town sound that the audience grew to love. That would be evident on songs like "They Like It Slow", "Don't Hold Back The Rain", and "I Sleep U I Wear U". This third album is on par quality wise with their first two and I'm surprised it's not mentioned more in the R&B discussion.

*Boyz II Men- Evolution (1997)

-So, this might be a slight stretch, but when you talk this legendary group, their first two albums get discussed so much that you rarely hear their excellent third project mentioned. This was a success, earning a double platinum certification, but I'll be honest, it was considered a huge disappointment to many of the fans who loved their first two, but this album was actually pretty good. Tracks like "Doin' Just Fine", "4 Seasons Of Loneliness", "A Song For Mama", "Girl In The Life Magazine", and more work very well, as the group still had top tier chemistry with Babyface. Sure, Evolution isn't a classic, but it was a very solid third album that deserved more credit.

*Tevin Campbell- Back To The World (1996)

-Tevin Campbell struck platinum and multi platinum with his two efforts and his third album would miss that type of success, but it was actually a very solid release. The title track is the best of all of the songs here, with a lush production and vocals from Tevin. I'll admit, the cover made me overlook this album for years, as I really found it be comedic, but Tevin delivers. Working with Puffy, Babyface, and others helped shape the sound of this project, and though this album would fall short of going platinum, it was slept on and very solid.

*Hi-Five- Faithful (1993)

-One of my favorite groups during the decade, Hi-Five had a lot of success on their first two albums, but their third would be just as solid despite not achieving the same level of success overall that their previous works did. This album is special to me for spawning one of their best singles ever in "Unconditional Love", which is a 90's R&B gem. Other top notch tracks on this project include "Faithful", "Ready 4 U 2 Love", and "Miss You Girl", rounding out a very good yet slept on album. Hi-Five in general is an underrated group, and this album definitely doesn't get mentioned enough in terms of 90's R&B.

*Mint Condition- Definition Of A Band (1996)

-Technically, this album isn't underrated in reality, as it is the most successful project from the group, BUT it doesn't have the impact or importance of their first two projects IMO. Their first two projects are clear classics and while this album is also in that same regard, most casual fans and even some diehard fans point directly to their first two albums as the true peak of the group. This album gave us gems like "What Kind Of Man Would I Be", "You Don't Have To Hurt No More", "Funky Weekend", and "Let Me Be The One", which are all amazing tracks. From top to bottom, this might be my favorite Mint Condition album.

*SWV- Release Some Tension (1997)

-SWV is one of the best groups of all time and my personal favorite female R&B group, and while their first two projects are classics IMO, there was a mixed reception by many people to their third album. They took an admittedly misguided hip hop approach on this project, utilizing the sounds of Puffy, Missy, Timbaland, and others to fuel this third album. While there is a bit of overkill on the rap features (Foxy Brown, E-40, Redman, Lil' Kim, Snoop Dogg and more), the music still works very well and their voices sound as good as ever. Tracks like "Can We", "Someone", "Here For You", and "Rain" are all amazing listens and the best of the best here. While this album isn't their debut, which is one of the best R&B albums ever IMO, this is still a solid effort that deserved more recognition.

*Montell Jordan- Let's Ride (1998)

-It is interesting. Montell Jordan was never the best singer or artist, but he could make hits. When his third album dropped, it felt like a comeback due to the slight commercial failure of his sophomore album (compared to his debut). This album would be pushed by the title track, which hit the charts due to features from Master P and Silkk The Shocker, but there were more hits on this album and that's what makes it underrated in a major way. Tracks like "Anything & Everything", "I Can Do That", and others make this a solid listen from start to finish and sparked a bit of a comeback that would continue through his fourth project.


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