In the fall of 2002, R&B music was a changing landscape. However, that didn’t stop The Prom Queen Of Soul, a.k.a., Mrs. Whitney Houston, from releasing her fifth album Just Whitney on December 10th, 2022. Just Whitney was Houston’s fifth studio album and the first after she renewed her contract with Arista for $100 million.
Second Listen Sunday: Subway, Good Times
Since Michael Bivins was a part of New Edition, he knew a thing or two about being a member of a young R&B group. Biv’s initial success came with Another Bad Creation, but that group did not last too long for whatever reason. With the help of the group Subway, Bivins attempted to take on the teen market again in the spring of 1995. We all remember “Fire” and how big that song was in our middle school days. However, Subway delivered a quality debut throughout with nine tracks exploring the fusion of soul, rap, and reggae that defines the Chicago scene in 1995. Subway aimed to take their listeners on a journey through the growing Chicago scene back then.
The nineties are largely remembered as a time when vocal groups with dazzling leads and smooth harmony dominated R&B music. However, Eric, Trerail, Roy, and Keith the members of Subway were able to prove that the strength of their music lies in the alliance of four members. Their debut album opens with “Chi-Town Ride,” which features guest vocalists Easy and Tung Twista. It is a nice start before we get three slow jams back to back.
The group’s album features production by Chad “Dr. Ceuss” Elliot and Herb Middleton, who has contributed the tracks (“The Better The Love” and “This Is Not A Goodbye”) that both avoids the characteristic of the R. Kelly-influenced, bump-n-grind new wave of R&B that was sweeping the nation as the time.
There’s no doubt that Subway’s swinging “Get Da Money” is a link to the West Coast scene on the album, and Phat Pocket’s Remix of that song wins the prize as the album’s standout track. We must also mention the tracks produced by late soul legend Gerald Levert (“This Lil’ Game We Play” and “Goodtimes”) that bring about a change of pace, emphasizing Subway’s raw vocal abilities and smooth style in an intriguing way.
Good Times provides a continuous musical flow through the combination of production expertise and raw talent.
Final Grade: B
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The current lineup of legendary R&B trio features founding members Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, Sr., and Eric Nolan Grant, who joined the group in 1997. Tonight I get to cross an item off my musical bucket list as I’m attending the Washington D.C. stop of the group’s Last Stop on the Love Train tour.
No matter the music genre, every group has a standout member who is destined for solo stardom. Lionel Richie was already three years into a successful solo career when his former band, The Commodores, released its eleventh album, Nightshift.