Three years after releasing their self-titled platinum-selling debut, After 7 returned to the music scene with their sophomore release Takin ‘My Time. Released on August 25th, 1992, as I was entering fifth grade. Surprising fans and the music industry, the group ventured away from the producing talents of L.A. Reid & Babyface. Instead, the group decided to work with Randy Ran, Dallas Austin, and Daryl Simmons & Kayo.
Randy Ran & Dallas Austin give the trio a fresh up-tempo New Jack Swing sound on the songs “All About Love,” “Kickin It,” and “No Better Love.” Group members Kevon Edmonds, Melvin Edmonds, and Keith Mitchell glide the songs with ease, splitting the vocals. While L.A. Reid doesn’t bless the group with his production skills provides the group with the mid-tempo “G.S.T.,” which will remind fans of the group’s hit “One Night” from their debut.
However, the group After 7 has always excelled at ballads, and their sophomore release is no expectation. The group performs one of the best cover songs of the early nineties in the form of a medley of The Originals’ song “Baby I’m For Real” and Bloodstone’s “Natural High. Opening with the late Melvin Edmonds pleading for his love, before transiting into a buttery tenor by Keith Mitchell and being brought home by Kevon Edmonds, the song still holds up twenty-eight years later.
Melvin also effortlessly leads the “better man” anthem, “Can He Love Like You This” written by L.A. Reid and Daryl Simmons. However, I would have to say my favorite songs are Babyface compositions, “Truly Something Special,” and “Love By Day, Love By Night”
The former song highlights Kevon’s tenor with a lush chorus, which you can’t help but smile about when thinking about your significant other. While “Love By Day, Love By Night” is a grown man slow cut that expresses those words for a shy guy. The group even finds time to touch on sensuality in the form of the album’s title track, but they avoid going into crass material.
Outside of a surprising omission of “Nights Like This,” which was a hit for the group a year prior, I have no compliments with Takin ‘My Time. With quality production, mesmerizing vocals, After 7 easily avoided the sophomore slump with Takin My Time.
Final Grade A –