Come Back, Please: Music Groups We Sorely Miss
Do you long for the days of “No Diggity” and “Independent Women”? So do we. While we love the sweet sounds of today’s best R&B, there is definitely a part of us that longs for our favorites ’80s, ’90s and 2000s jams. In the spirit of nostalgia, we’re taking a look at the 14 musical groups that we wish would make a surge back into relevance in 2013 … or the not so distant future.
TLC became a surprising symbol of sexiness and self-assurance in the ’90s. Though their early days were marked by baggy clothes, strategically-placed condoms and more boisterous sounds, TLC’s music grew right along with their fashion sense. By the time “CrazyHotCool” dropped, they were known for stylish clothes and full-on smooth hooks — with a message, of course. Though the tragic loss of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes forever changed TLC, the surviving members have tried to push on. And though their sound may not be the same as it once was, we can’t help but support their efforts.
We’re so weak in the knees for SWV. Come on, ya’ll knew we couldn’t skip out on that reference. But, much like TLC, New York-based SWV captivated us in the 1990s. Founding members Cheryl Gamble, Tamara Johnson and Leanne Lyons staked their claim on top of the charts with such classics as “Weak”, “Right Here/Human Nature” and “I’m So Into You.” Though the group has had some ups and downs, we have to give them some serious credit for sticking it out for more than 15 years (granted, there was certainly a break tucked in there) and for trying to reinvent themselves for a whole new generation.
Another favorite, En Vogue set the bar ridiculously high for female R&B groups. Original members Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones, Dawn Robinson and Terry Ellis blasted up the charts with such hits as “Hold On,” “Free Your Mind,” and “Giving Him Something He Can Feel.” Their brand of female empowerment, raw sex appeal and attitude definitely struck a chord with many fans throughout the 90s. And while the group has certainly fallen on hard times (Robinson’s departure, return, departure sure didn’t make things easy), their music continues to be some of R&B’s best.
You knew we had to get some new jack swing into the mix. Harlem-based Guy cranked out their self-titled debut in 1988, featuring such hits as “Groove Me” and “I Like” and they immediately became one of our favorite R&B groups. But like all good things, their success came to an end when the group disbanded in the mid-90s. Though they’ve reunited for a few spot performances and projects here and there, how much would we like to see them back together, for real?
We went back and forth trying to decide whether or not to include the lovely ladies of Destiny’s Child on our list. And while they haven’t broken and have continued to make appearances and record music since they each embarked on solo careers, we still long for the days of “Say My Name” and “Survivor.” The days when they breathed new life into R&B girl groups. And while, at least Beyonce, has gone on to bigger and better things, we’d still love another taste of what this soulful trio has to offer.
Probably not the first group you think of when it comes to musical acts we miss the most, but 3LW definitely holds a spot in our hearts. From “Players Gon’ Play” and “No More,” Naturi Naughton, Adrienne Bailon and Kiely Williams knew how to crank out feel good songs with a light, airy beat. And though they definitely weren’t setting the charts ablaze with their music, there was something so fun and youthful about their sound that we just had to include them. And who knows, maybe 3LW is due for a comeback soon.
Is there really much that needs to be said about this one? Boston’s New Edition not only brought a revolutionary, innovative, incredible sound to R&B and mainstream music, but they paved the way for an entire movement of boy bands to dominate the industry. But we’re not talking about some mediocre pretty boys. New Edition had talent, moves and swagger before swagger was even a thing. And while they had a wonderfully successful career, there is definitely a part of us that wouldn’t mind seeing them try to re-capture the magic (provided Bobby Brown keeps himself in check).
No diggity, no doubt the boys of Blackstreet made our list of sorely missed musical groups. Their songs were catchy as all hell, their look was street-wise and on-point and their sound was smooth as silk. But unfortunately member changes and instability within the group helped to sabotage their career and push them into musical irrelevance. Though it’s unlikely the original members will get back together, Teddy does have a group of new guys he’s currently putting together.
112 certainly knew how to dominate the charts. With a slick, unique sound they carved out a place for themselves among the most notable and successful R&B groups of the mid to late 90s. But sadly the group faced some tumult behind the scenes. Infighting within the group pushed some of its members to try their hands at solo projects and ultimately put the brakes on 112’s successful group status. But thankfully they have reunited and now it’s just a matter of waiting to see what incredible hit they come up with next.
Boyz II Men
The 90s were defined by a number of different groups, genres and personalities. But Boyz II Men stands out as one of its most influential, successful and memorable. These Philly boys released their first album, “Cooleyhighharmony,” in 1991 to great acclaim and followed up that success with “II,” and “Evolution,” featuring songs like “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” and “Water Runs Dry.”Boyz II Men brought back baby making music in a way that other groups had only dreamed of. The incredible talent and versatility of the group brought them Grammy awards, mufti-platinum albums and Billboard praise. And while the group is down one original member, we’d love nothing better than to see them reclaim that musical glory.
“If You Love Me” was every woman’s jam back in the day when Brownstone hit the scene. But unfortunately the group, commprised of members Monica “Mimi” Doby, Charmayne “Maxee” Maxwell and Nichole “Nicci” Gilbert, never was able to carve out its own niche in the R&B landscape. But there’s rumblings the group is reuniting for a new album and tour, so let’s hope that maybe they get it right this time around.
Another somewhat unexpected addition to our list, Allure had us really believing they were a group in it for the long haul. “All Cried Out” was one of those slow jams that really impressed us, vocally, but unfortunately the group never seemed to find its stride. Maybe time for another go, ladies?
Jagged Edge gave us some serious hope in the boy band department in the late 90s and early 2000s when they hit the scene. Not only did they make a name for themselves on the solo tip (“Let’s Get Married” and “Where the Party At”, for instance), they also achieved success in collaborating with other artists. And though things looked promising for the group, they fizzled out with their more recent album “Baby Makin’ Project,” failing to make any noticeable impact. But we’re keeping the faith. These boys certainly have another hit or two left in them. We’re confident.
Jade is probably one of the more interesting inclusions on this list. They’re probably as well known for their appearances on 90210 and other television shows, as they are for their music, but that doesn’t diminish just how much we appreciated their sound. With hits like “I Wanna Love You” and “Don’t Walk Away” Jade rocketed up the charts. But unfortunately their time on top was fairly short-lived: By the mid-90s, Jade had thrown in the towel. Though it’s a long shot, we would certainly welcome a chance to hear some new material.