Atlanta based R&B group, Jagged Edge, returns to the music scene with their double album A Jagged Love Story. The group comprising twins Brandon & Brian Casey, Kyle Norman, and Richard Wingo have been a force in the music industry since the 1997 debut A Jagged Era.
Lead signers of the group (Brandon & Brian) oversee most of the production and writing of this two-hour-plus album. Serving as the group’s tenth album in a twenty-three-year career, A Jagged Love Story could’ve elevated the group’s legacy. Instead, it’s another blemish on their discography, following 2017’s abysmal, Layover.
The lead single from A Jagged Love Story was last fall’s “Genie, “an autotune misfire. The song was an attempt to once again sound modern and cater to a young audience, the song was an insult to R&B fans.
At 24 years of age, the group sang lyrics such as “And baby I know that I did my share of things to deceive you” on “He Can’t Love U.” Twenty years later on, “Genie,” the lyrics are, “Girl I’ll be your genie and I will give you everything.” Talk about mundane and repetitive. I initially went into A Jagged Love Story with an open mind, but I was already upset by the album’s third track.
A Jagged Love Story starts out decent enough with “Intro X Falling out of Love.” Despite the unneeded autotune that accompanies the song, there’s a gentle piano arrangement in the background that makes the song work. “BadBad” is a semi up-tempo track that would be better suited for a group like Bluff City or a younger singer and not grown men in their forties. Honestly, what man over 35 is referring to a woman as shorty?
The rest of the album appears to showcase the group going through a midlife crisis and attempting to reclaim their youth by using music as therapy. Jagged Edge once gave us strong titles such as “For the Rest of Our Lives” and “Head of Household” is now reduced song titles such as “Cuffs,” “Juice,” “Math” and “Here Goes My Number. In all honesty, the group would’ve been better off giving these songs away for free to an aspiring singing group who are looking to get signed.
A Jagged Love Story isn’t all terrible though, as out of the thirty-one songs, a few standouts, are worth the stream. The ballad “Seasons of Us,” which gives that classic JE sound. The group also pays homages to the R&B groups of yesteryear. “How to Fix It” will remind listeners of Jodeci’s “My Heart Belongs To You.” At the same time, “Closet Thing to Perfect” incorporates elements of The Rude Boys, “Written All Over Your Face.” The album closer “What Can I Do” finds the group reuniting with Jermaine Dupri for another smooth track.
A double album is a massive task for any artist to pull off, no matter what the genre is. Sadly Jagged Edge misses the bullseye with A Jagged Love Story. For the group to have as much talent as they do, JE should know better. While the group has quality albums and classic songs, later in their career, the group’s production all started to sound the same. At 31 songs, A Jagged Love Story is an insult not only to R & B music but also to the group’s fans. The wise choice would have been to release the four best songs on an EP, and just throw everything else out as a mixtape.
The album may be titled A Jagged Love Story, but it’s a heartbreak for R&B fans.
Final Grade D-
Best Songs : “Seasons of Us, “How to Fix It”, “Closet Thing to Perfect” and “What Can I Do”