Deep Album Cuts Vol. 86: New Edition

Next week BET will air the 3-part The New Edition Story, Bell Biv DeVoe have a new album coming out this month, and the whole group reunited on a recent Johnny Gill single that was on my top 20 R&B singles of 2016. So let's talk New Edition.

New Edition Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist):

1. Gimme Your Love
2. Pass The Beat
3. Ooh Baby
4. I'm Leaving You Again
5. Baby Love
6. Delicious
7. Hide And Seek
8. Whispers In Bed
9. Who Do You Trust
10. Singing Merry Christmas
11. Since I Don't Have You
12. Intro
13. That's The Way We're Livin'
14. Boys To Men
15. Where It All Started
16. Skit 2
17. I'm Comin' Home
18. Shop Around
19. Hear Me Out
20. One Love Interlude
21. Last Time

Tracks 1, 2 and 3 from Candy Girl (1983)
Tracks 4, 5, 6 and 7 from New Edition (1984)
Tracks 8 and 9 from All For Love (1985)
Track 10 from Christmas All Over The World (1985)
Track 11 from Under The Blue Moon (1986)
Tracks 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 from Heart Break (1988)
Tracks 18 and 19 from Home Again (1996)
Tracks 20 and 21 from One Love (2004)

There's an argument to be made that New Edition has influenced pop music history more than almost any group in my lifetime. They invented the modern boy band template for a couple generations of male vocal groups, from NKOTB and the other white boy bands that followed in their wake to the various R&B groups including Boyz II Men, mentored by Michael Bivins and named after a New Edition deep cut. Bobby Brown was arguably the first R&B star to routinely rap on his singles, and he and BBD helped make New Jack Swing a pop phenomenon, plus Johnny and Ralph had pretty respectable solo careers. If you removed New Edition from history, a huge chunk of popular music might not even exist.

The hits on New Edition were penned by outside writers, including Ray Parker Jr., but members of the group began writing deep cuts, including Ricky Bell and Ralph Tresvant's "I'm Leaving You Again," which was sampled on Bow Wow and Ciara's huge 2005 hit "Like You." And that basically established the pattern for most of the band's career, where many of their songs were written by group members but almost never the singles (with the exception of the 1996 comeback single "Hit Me Off," co-written by Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe well after they penned several Bell Biv DeVoe hits). So deep cuts are really where you get a bit more of the group's perspective and some foreshadowing of their solo careers and offshoot groups.

It made the most sense to organize the group's catalog chronologically, since their sound changed with the times and you also hear their voices gradually deepen (well, except Ralph Tresvant's, I think he's had the same range since the first album). 1988's "If It Isn't Love" has always been my favorite New Edition hit and Heart Break follows suit as easily my favorite album of the bunch, great Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis work during that fertile period between Control and Rhythm Nation. I'm surprised by the number of skits on Heart Break, because it doesn't seem like skits become customary on rap albums until 1989.

One of the most interesting things to me about New Edition's on again, off again relationship with Bobby Brown is that they both initially flopped after the split, with his solo debut and the remaining quartet's ill conceived doo wop covers album Under The Blue Moon both coming out in 1986 (and I was amused that it features "Since I Don't Have You," covered on another major group's footnote covers album, The Spaghetti Incident? by Guns 'N Roses, 7 years later). And then they rallied and came back big separately in 1988 with Heart Break and Don't Be Cruel, both multi platinum career high points. The two reunion albums haven't aged as well as the '80s stuff, but there's some solid circa 1996 and circa 2004 radio R&B on those records.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Motley Crue
Vol. 50: The Who
Vol. 51: Coldplay
Vol. 52: Alicia Keys
Vol. 53: Stone Temple Pilots
Vol. 54: David Bowie
Vol. 55: The Eagles
Vol. 56: The Beatles
Vol. 57: Beyonce
Vol. 58: Beanie Sigel
Vol. 59: A Tribe Called Quest
Vol. 60: Cheap Trick
Vol. 61: Guns N' Roses
Vol. 62: The Posies
Vol. 63: The Time
Vol. 64: Gucci Mane
Vol. 65: Violent Femmes
Vol. 66: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Vol. 67: Maxwell
Vol. 68: Parliament-Funkadelic
Vol. 69: Chevelle
Vol. 70: Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio
Vol. 71: Fantasia
Vol. 72: Heart
Vol. 73: Pitbull
Vol. 74: Nas
Vol. 75: Monica
Vol. 76: The Cars
Vol. 77: 112
Vol. 78: 2Pac
Vol. 79: Nelly
Vol. 80: Meat Loaf
Vol. 81: AC/DC
Vol. 82: Bruce Springsteen
Vol. 83: Pearl Jam
Vol. 84: Green Day
Vol. 85: George Michael and Wham!
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