As the highly anticipated release of his eleventh album, 11:11, draws near, R&B sensation Chris Brown recently dropped his second single, “Sensational,” much to the delight of his adoring fans.” Following the mid-tempo R&B vibes of the lead single “Summer Too Hot,” Brown links up with Davido and Lojay to craft a surprisingly infectious dancefloor bop.
Second Listen Sunday: Kut Klose
Yesterday, I highlighted the R&B trio Jade for Slow Jam Saturday, and for this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I wanted to show some love to another female nineties R&B trio, Kut Klose.
The Atlanta-based group comprised vocalists Athena Cage, Lavonn Battle, and Tabitha Duncan. R&B legend Keith Sweat discovered the group and quickly put them to work. The group first appeared on the song “Get Up on It” from Sweat’s same-titled fourth album in 1994.
A year later, the group would release their debut album, Surrender, where “Get Up on It” would also appear. While Swear primarily handled the production duties, the group’s first single, “I Like,” showcased the pen game of group member Tabitha Duncan. She co-wrote the song with Donald Parks, Emanuel Officer, and John Howco. The latter three also handled production duties.
“I Like” is a heartfelt ode to physical and emotional love. While direct in its sensual descriptions, the lyrics emphasize that taking one’s time is of crucial importance. The ladies appeal to their partners to touch them softly, caress them, and hold them close until they are content. In return, the singer promises an even deeper commitment and intimacy that grows with each passing moment. The chorus underscores the intensity of these passionate emotions, reaffirming their love for their partner through meaningful words and a slow and sultry sound.
The ladies of Kut Klose understand that long-lasting relationships rely on physical and emotional connections, which we should treasure no matter what stage it’s at. “I Like” acknowledges this truth but still celebrates the power of those beginnings moments where love sparks between two hearts.
“Lovely Thang was the second single and found the girls going the up-tempo right. The second single has a springtime vibe and is a straightforward love song about being attracted to someone and wanting to pursue a relationship with them. The lyrics express the ladies’ strong desire to be with the person and how they’re captivated by their physical beauty. The song’s repetitive use of the phrase “lovely thang” drives home the idea of how entranced they are with the person they’re singing about.
“Surrender” was the final single from the album, and the group takes it back to balladry. This song has an incredibly passionate theme to it. The lyrics reflect a deep desire for surrender to the narrator’s love and affection. They express confidence and assurance that their lover will capitulate, as seen in the chorus, “I’ll make you surrender to my loving, baby.” There’s also a request for physical intimacy and promise of pleasure, such as in the lines “Give it to me right now boy what I need/Sugar don’t be shy,” and “I’ll make you scream my name, boy/’Til you had enough.” There’s even a feeling of urgency with lines like “Don’t put up no fight/Surrender to my loving,” articulating an impatient eagerness for their lover’s affection. This song conveys a sincere, passionate message about unconditional love and intimacy.
The rest of the album has the typical tropes you would find on a nineties R&B album. While nothing ever reaches the heights of the released singles, there is nothing terrible on here, either. Sadly, this is the group’s only released album to date. Kut Klose would reunite with Mr. Sweat again in 1996 for the massive hits “Twisted” and “Nobody” before falling into R&B obscurity.
Nevertheless, Surrender is a decent debut worth a revisit.
Final Grade: B
More reviews to explorer
Following his 2018 Luther Vandross cover album, Season 2 American Idol winner Ruben Studdard returns to the original material for his eighth album, The Way I Remember It.
The nineties were a prime time in R&B. I often say there were so many groups dropping heat that many got lost in the shuffle. Often, mainstream listeners write off acts as one-hint wonders when artists would have R&B charting hits that didn’t necessarily transition into pop hits. Female R&B trio Jade is one such group and this week’s Slow Jam Saturday pick.