If you’ve heard my Podcast or read my older reviews, you know that I love R&B. I always say that one of the best things about growing up in the nineties is the prevalence of male groups. We all know the names like Silk, Jodeci, and Boyz II Men. However, there are other groups that only die-hard R&B fans remember. Coming of Age is one of these groups.
Composed of singers Israel Spencer, Tao Kese, Ivan Shaw Maranthony Tabb, and Terrance Quaites (who would find solo success as TQ following the group’s disbandment). The group released their self-titled debut in 1993. Cameo member Charlie Singleton writes the album’s opener, the lush Acappella “One In A Million,” which shows off the group’s harmonies.
The late great Kashif contributes to the album’s lead single and second track, “Coming Home to Love.” I remember hearing “Coming Home to Love” on the radio and seeing its accompanying video on BET when I was in the sixth grade. The balladry continues on “Baby Be Still” written and produced by Jeff Valentine, another sentimental track with elegant vocals. However, the group loses some of the energy on the next two songs.
Up first is an uninspired cover of The Isley Brothers’ classic “Between the Sheets,” where the group mistakenly changes the arrangements. A dated New Jack Swing track, “You Turn Me On,” follows, and the song sounds like a generic Guy track. Simplicity also befalls another New Jack Swing track, “Lil’ Hottie Got a Body” as well.
Thankfully the group returns to the strength of the album’s opening three numbers with “Intimate,” a lush slow jam that avoids becoming crass. The rest of the album is standard R&B ballads of the time. You have an apology track with “I Miss You Lover,” as well as the pleading songs “Give Me Your Love,” and “I’d Rather Be with You.” The acapella track “All I Ask of You” serves as the standout overall.
Coming of Age would release a follow up two years later with Comin’ Correct, which featured the singles “Sparkle” and “Forever” before disbanding. Coming of Age got lost in the R&B group shuffle and are pretty much forgotten by mainstream listeners. Nevertheless, their self-titled debut features tracks that I often revisit myself.
Top Tracks: “Coming Home To Love|”, “One in A Million”, “Intimate”
Final Grade B
While the first album is unavailable for streaming, you can stream the second album Comin’ Correct.