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Following his time as a member of the Pop group New Edition, Bobby Brown went solo. This was his second album working alone, and came out in 1988, the unofficial birth of the fusion genre New Jack Swing (which combined R&B and Hip Hop), so you have him come through with this new sound, whilst still sticking to what he knows from early release with the band.
1. "Cruel Prelude"
2. "Don't Be Cruel"
I have to say that this one is my personal favourite from this album, and it has him performing at his absolute best. It is the eponymous song to the collection, and has been one of his most popular track ever since. He shows how he can stick little raps in to give it a Hip Hop twist, and was really the opening for this new style.
3. "My Prerogative"
Later covered by Britney Spears, this song find him doing a classic jam which has him working with the original New Jack Swinger, Teddy Riley, who shows him exactly how this thing should be done (which he then went to do as part of Guy later in the year), and so this acts as a second big single to open the album up with, and give you hope for what is to come.
Here you find him performing a smooth track which has him on the beats of the people who went to for LA Face as both Babyface and L.A.. Rid made the beat for this, and it seemed that they were attempting to find a middle ground between the New Jack Swing beats and the classic ballad, and I would have to say that it was nailed on this occasion, and his vocals are at the top standard in this song.
5. "Rock Wit'cha"
Here you have him performing a slow jam which has him show that he is fully-capable of the ballads, and I felt that although it was an alright one, it as others on here seemed to have too much of a Pop edge to it, and so it didn't really fit in with the way that he was attempting to push forward his new found combination of R&B and Hip Hop.
6. "Every Little Step"
This is a groovy little cut from him as he really get you moving in his own little way as he is given more from Babyface and L.A. Reid, and together, the material clearly has a feel of the latter's own music in the way that it is made from the type of beats which would be heard in his slow jams, but they have just been put in a more p-beat recording to indicate where things can be taken (and was) following this.
7. "I'll Be Good To You"
You have him kick a little more New Jack Swing on this one, and it seems to give the album a last little boost before he drops the tempo for good in the latter half of the record. It is a freaky one, and the way that the thing is composed really brings out all the best in these early years of the fusion genre when they tried original sounds, before they moved on to making sampling one of the key elements.
8. "Take It Slow"
Although this song isn't exactly excessive in its length, it seems to go on forever, and this clearly isn't a good thing when he is doing a track which brings down the tempo and gets him to do a song which is supposed to show exactly how strong his vocals can be. It sounded alright, it wasjust a bit too much like his Bubblegum years, when he started off with New Edition, and this put me off a little.
9. "All Day All Night"
For some reason I couldn't help but liken this song to the one before it as at first I thought I had just gone into the same track again, but then it did reveal that it was an original song. However as it is so much like the one before in its structure and how the lyrics seem to go on similar themes, it just wasn't doing what I wanted it to do, and it just floated about as one of the songs which wasn't bad, but wasn't saying anything either.
10. "I Really Love You Girl"
This, as the final proper track on the album was a fairly average one on the thing and it didn't really do a lot in comparison to how the album started off as they seemed to just recycle early things with the lyrics of this song. I wouldn't say that it is a poor one as it is decent, it's just not all that original in compared to others.
11. "Cruel Reprise" (Outro)
Although this album starts off well, it is clear that as you get through it, it progressively weakens as he moves on form the lively New Jack Swing to a succession of ballads, all of which are fairly average and don't seem to offer anything original form him. I wouldn't recommend it due to the inconsistencies, but there are a few big ones within it.
Now this will definitely take you back! It was the eighties, men had steps in their hair, woman had big hair and shoulder pads and everything was about excess. This chap arrived on the music scene and started blowing us all away with his brand of poppy r and b.
Who is he:
US singer and occasional actor, was married to Whitney Houston.
On this album:
Check out the brilliant 'My Preogative' which is an upbeat funky affair, in which Brown declares he can do what he wants with his life. It is a male empowerment kind of track with slick vocals and plenty of style.
'Every Little Step' has a dancier edge, a hook laden chorus as Brown tells his lover he will be at her side every step of the way in the relationship. The lyrics don't seem to register, as the rhythm sells it here, it is so fresh and vibrant and makes you want to bop around.
For something more refined, head for 'Roni' which appears to be a love letter to an ex. Slower, ballad like and verging on the sickly, but his smooth vocals ice it off with a sexual dressing. This is one to play when the lights go down.
There are only ten tracks on here, but the good news is that they are all very strong and there are no points where you will feel tempted to skip. The artwork is cool, with sophisticated poses from Bobby on the sleeve adding value.
A very good eighties r and b/pop album