At 10 years old, you couldn't tell me Bobby Brown wasn't the illest brotha in the world.
Twenty years later, you still can't.
I might have watched this 5 or 6 times in a row before deciding to post it here. There is something special about watching a great artist at the peak of his powers.
Bobby Brown was known for his high-energy, controversial performances. But his considerable vocal skills have been forgotten, I think. He's fantastic here, nailing the song, but also giving it a new jack swing and a gospel flair (particularly when the background singers go in) that makes it a little different.
After the jump is a slight edit of a review of Usher’s Here I Stand – an album I have tremendous respect for, so much so that I thought was the best black pop album of 2008 – that I initially wrote for Popmatters.com a few years ago that was never published.
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.
My favorite thing about traveling is the quality time I get to spend with my iPod. I’m aware of how that sounds. Sure, I like new places, new people – turns out Omaha steaks really are one of the great pleasures on God, Buddha and nem’s green earth – but what really makes me excited is how new experiences color old habits.
There is a heightened awareness that I think happens when you are in new places. You pay attention, not just because you are taking things in but because you are trying to get your bearings. Customs, smells, the way Google Maps becomes your best friend – all of this requires you to be open and cognizant.
And for me, I find that that leads to hearing music I love differently.