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"It's Real" was released in 1999 and was the second album from K-Ci & JoJo. The Hailey Brother, who initially found fame as part of Jodeci, brought this record to show that off the success of such tunes as "All My Life", "How Could You" and "You Bring Me Up" on their "Love Always" debut, as they offer more heavy Pop and R&B hits.
2. "Fee Fie Foe Fum"
Coming off a really powerful introduction, we see that they get right into the swing of things as they get into this track and they put down a little something that lets listeners know that this time they've altered their ways a little. Here it sounds much more like a development form past Jodeci work than on their last album when it was all about establishing themselves as a new act, and it makes for some powerful R&B material here as they sing on how they suspect cheating in their relationship.
3. "I Wanna Make Love To You"
The brothers show just how well they are able to work off each other's vocals as they drop this one, and come out with a little something that has them singing about the sorts of thing that they wish to do to their partners when they get them in the bed. It's a nice one to here from them and it shows that here they are attempting to give a K-Ci & Jojo spin on things they did on past work with their quartet.
4. "I Wanna Get To Know You"
The lively production we get on this one was really bang on-trend for R&B during this late nineties period. We find that they really find and way to go off on these club beats and show how they suit the way that the game was moving at the time (after a spell that had tem ignoring R&B to some degree and moving in the Pop crowd so that they could be welcomed with their desire to perform lots of ballads.
5. "Hello Darlin'"
For this one we get our first ballad of the album. It was a great time to drop the tune and they made sure that it would do all that you would hope it to as they build it all up gradually and ensure that the flow of the tail is contained within a strong format that make for something that you wouldn't want to come out of. The vocals are empowering here and show that they haven't lost it since their last album 9two years before this one).
6. "How Long Must I Cry"
This one has the vocals stripped-down quite significantly, and I felt that it was great to see that they did this is order to make the listeners get drawn towards the vocals (at the heart of the tune). The lyrics to it are written amazingly well and we see that they are able to bring about connotations of "All My Life" and all the emotion that came with that; their most impressive love song to date.
7. "Makin' Me Say Goodbye"
Here we get more soulful stuff coming out of the pair. For this one JoJo takes the opening verse and so we get a much more raw-feeling piece at first before the lighter voice of K-Ci comes in later. Once they come together at the chorus it shows just how well the two work together and just how impressive the combination of them is when making for memorable R&B of the time. There's lots to like about this, and it keeps the thing flowing.
8. "Tell Me It's Real"
The biggest single on the album, I saw this one as one of the biggest tracks they ever recorded. Getting right up to the standard seen in work with Jodeci, this one has them singing about their love being so good that it's to the point where they simply cannot believe it's real and it must have been dreamt-up or something. I wouldn't know where to fault it as it's just so powerful and they take you in from the moment it begins and they make you think they are re-creating "All My Life".
For this one we see that they get more of the contemporary R&B feel comign through and so it sets it up as a tune that's really right in with the direction of the R&B scene of the time as the Carolina pair do their thing. JoJo covers the verses on this one again and I thought that he really did a good job of setting it up for K-Ci to take over when he shows just how much power he's packing behind him (when you consider that on occasions JoJo sounds as though he's struggling).
Here they get into a smooth tune, and one that has the direction of things shifted just a little in order to give the artists a chance to calm things down a little and show what else they've got to offer here. The melodies that you find in this one are impressive and I felt that they really attracted me to the piece and made me want to connect with this thing in the first place before the rest of it came together.
11. "What Am I Gonna Do"
We get more of the freaky percussion that was highly-prevalent in the R&B scene at the time, and so it has them attempting to the sorts of people who will have grown with Jodeci and got into the sorts of acts who followed directly on from them when they came to an end in 1997. It's a really fresh tune from the release and opens things out for them in the future if they wished to pursue more danceable work, and I thought they made for some pretty strong stuff here.
12. "Here He Comes Again"
Slowing things down for the listeners here, on this one we get another ballad from them as they come up with a tune that seems to have them embracing the Pop side much more. The high-pitched vocals from K-Ci are just too much here as we see that JoJo sets up the contrast for him and makes it sound even more impactful upon you as a listener when going through the thing. They sing about being at the point where they need to choose how the relationship will advance as they've found themselves in a love triangle.
13. "Momma's Song"
They end the album off with an interesting one, and a tune that shows that they aren't afraid to try out something a little different every once and a while. Here they have their mother providing the lyrics to the thing (presumably just for the hook) and it makes for a very catchy piece that holds things together as they sing out a tune which is based upon their religious beliefs, but isn't too full-on. Resultantly it makes for a perfect way to end the album off.
This is a big album from K-Ci & JoJo and one that has them building upon their last release as they seem to be reverted back to R&B on this one and apparently filling in the gaps that we had from Jodeci's last album and this one. It's a hit-filled record, and although only one single really said something on the charts, the rest of the record matches its quality.
The second album from the Hailey brothers better known as KCI & JoJo, I have decided to review this album as I recently purchased it online and decided when I reviewed their greatest hits album that I would review all their albums in anticipation of their new album Love which will be out soon having only been released in Japan so far.
It's Real was released on June 22, 1999 and was recorded between late 1998 and around April 1999. This album is probably their least known album as is doesnt have the singles that Love Always and X had. The album was released in 1999 two years after the debut album Love Always and the music on offer is in much the same style as before with a mix of slow ballads and uptempo hip hop tracks.
This is a short gentle intro to the album with falsettos from both and then the short intro develops with their vocals as they start singing in their distinctive style. The acoustic guitar adds to the gentle feel of the intro.
2. Fee Fie Foe Fum
This is a sexy mid tempo track which contains no Englishman's blood but is about a man's sexuality, a very smooth track that was made for listening in the bedroom if you know what I mean. A very sensual track.
3. I Wanna Make Love To You
This is a sensual ode to a woman who you have feelings for and want to give them pleasure all night, A subject that had been done many times before but never gets tired when done right and this is one of those times that it is done right.
4. I Wanna Get To Know You
This is an uptempo track which doesnt quite hit the heights of the best tracks on the album but it is certainly very listenable and not a bad track. It just doesnt fit with the best on the album. It has a nice funky melody.
5. Hello Darlin
This is a lovely ballad which starts with gentle piano and is joined with soft drum beats every couple of seconds before the track gets into it's flow. This is a great ballad with both singers on top form vocally. One of the best tracks on the album.
6. How Long Must I Cry
Another great ballad, this time the piano is joined with soulful guitar and the vocals are more gentle in this track than the previous. This is a very emotional song that you should lie back and just listen to the lyrics. A brilliant track.
7. Makin' Me Say Goodbye
This ballad shows the difference in the vocal styles of the two brothers. KCI has a more Gospel style raspy tone to his voice and JoJo has a voice which sounds similar to Stevie Wonder when he errupts with his vocals. A brilliant track.
8. Tell Me It's Real
This is the first moment where they used vocoders in KCI & JoJo, this is a gentle track that shows how well their vocals flow. A very catchy track which is the best of the mid tempo ballads on the album. One of the best on the album.
This is a very gospel tinged track with KCI sounding like he is conducting in a gospel choir. The beat however has a very hip hop style beat to it which gives the track a different spark. The backing vocals from mthe gospel choir are done very well indeed and make the song into a great one.
This is the most poppy track on the album and has a very catchy melody. Their vocals arent soaring in this track but they show a different texture to their voices and although not as good it is still a very good track.
11. What Am I Gonna Do
This has a feel on the early nineties and is the only song on the album that sounds like it could have been recorded in their time in the group Jodeci. Not quite as good as the rest on the album despite a nice catchy feel.
12. Here He Comes Again
This is a gentle ballad that is probably the weakest ballad on the album. It dosnt have that spark and emotion that the other ballads do on the album and it seems a little bit lost compared to the best ballads on It's Real.
13. Momma's Song
This is a tribute to their mother and how she has touched their lives. Not the best Mother's tribute song I have heard but surely one of the top ten I have ever heard. A really nice tribute to their mother. with features their vocals soaring.
14. All My Life
For some reason this also appears on this album aswell as their debut album Love Always. One of their classic ballads about wanting to spend all your life with someone you love. This is a beautiful song which is so beautifully done.
This is a very good album indeed which only has a couple of tracks that don't keep up to the rest's high standards. Some really good ballads are featured on It's Real and I am sure that this album was one of the best albums of the genre in 1999.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Fee Fie Foe Fum
3 I Wanna Make Love To You
4 I Wanna Get To Know You
5 Hello Darlin'
6 How Long Must I Cry
7 Makin' Me Say Goodbye
8 Tell Me It's Real
11 What Am I Gonna Do
12 Here He Comes Again
13 Momma's Song
14 All My Life