I have a tremendous love for Bobby Brown. Don’t Be Cruel and Bobby still go hard. And New Edition….I mean…New Edition. Nothing more need be said.
You know, people joke about Whitney calling him the “King of R&B,” but that’s mostly because we have forgotten just how huge an artist Bobby was in the late 80s – and how hugely influential his career has truly been. Other than Michael Jackson and Prince, no black male was selling the kind of units Bobby was selling. And no one was doing it – not even Mike or Prince – by helping to create a new genre of black pop (new jack swing). There may not be a “King of R&B” but no other artist is closer to earning that title than Bobby Brown.
But listening to this song just makes you realize that Bobby’s instincts are just not as sharp as they were when he was 19. There is nothing – other than the pleasant realization that his voice, rougher than it was 20 years ago, is still wonderfully expressive – really notable about this song. It sounds both underproduced and overproduced, and ironically, unfinished.
I’d love a Bobby Brown comeback. I’d love it if he had a Santana-like late career renaissance. But this doesn’t sound like it.