tevin campbell
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Flashback Friday Album Review: Tevin Campbell, Back to the World

In October of 1993, at the age of sixteen, soul singer Tevin Campbell released his second solo album. I’m Ready featured the massive hit single “Can We Talk.” Campbell would later go on to sell two million copies of the album and receive three Grammy nominations. Already displaying a vocal skill well beyond his years, Tevin grew up with his music on his third album, Back to the World.

Released on June 25th, 1996, Back to the World found the singer not only maturing with his music but avoided traveling down a risqué lane. The neo-soul flavored first single “Back to The World” was written by Rashaan Patterson (another child prodigy who was maturing) with production by Jamey Jaz. Patterson and Jaz’s duo provide Campbell with a song that would still sound fresh on today’s Urban A.C. charts.

“I Got It Bad” was the album’s second single, and I can admit that I initially didn’t care for the song as a youngster. However, as a grown man, I can appreciate the Smokey jazz café vibe that producer Keith Crouch was going for with the track. The album’s final single was the Babyface written ballad “Could You Learn to Love.” While the song is a lush ballad that Campbell slays with his vocals, it’s also a very safe choice and one I wouldn’t release for a single. Instead, I would’ve gone with the other Babyface composition on the album, “Tell Me Where.”

The real strength of the album is in some of the album tracks. “Dry Your Eyes” courtesy of producer Derrick Edmondson is an excellent midtempo number that any guy who wants to be more than friends with a young lady can relate to. We all know a nineties’ R&B album isn’t complete without a few tracks from Sean Combs and the Bad Boy camp.

Combs and the members of Total collaborate with Campbell on “You Don’t Have to Worry.” The song is a sensual slow jam, yet Campbell never comes off as crass or corny. Instead, he provides the listener with subtle seduction. While Combs and the members of 112 provide assistance on the ballad “I’ll Be There” and the midtempo “We Can Work It Out.” The former song is more substantial of the two, while the latter comes across as filler.

The only misstep on the album for me was “I Need You.” On the one hand, the song is better than some 2020 R & B releases; however, the song’s vibe didn’t really fit with the album for me. Nevertheless, had Campbell linked up with Combs for a remix with a hot 16 from the late great The Notorious B.I.G., I’m sure the album may have done better chart-wise.

Outside of under promotion from the label, I have no idea why audiences didn’t connect with Back to the World. While the album was released the same day as Toni Braxton’s sophomore album, Secrets and a week before Keith Sweat’s self-titled fifth album, there was room for all three artists to shine.

I’m Ready is considered Campbell’s magnum opus. His follow up project Back to the World is a strong third album and worthy transition from teen star to mature soul singer.

Final Re-Listen Grade B+

Movie Clappers

More reviews to explorer

Playa, Birthday and Hi-Five, Birthday Girl

Second Slow Jam Saturday : Playa, Birthday and Hi-Five, Birthday Girl

For this week’s Slow Jam Saturday, I wanted to pay homage to the love of my life, my wife, Darcie. Today is her 40th birthday, so I am going against the norm and featuring two songs for Slow Jam Saturday. Up first is “Birthday” by Timbaland feat. Playa from the 1998 album, ‘Tim’s Bio: From The Motion Picture – Life From Da Bassment.’

Album Review :Stokley, Sankofa

Album Review :Stokley, Sankofa

Mint Condition frontman Stokely, returns to the scene with his sophomore solo album, Sankofa. Prior to the COVID pandemic, Stokley released the singles “She”, a ballad that recalled the classic Mint Condition sound, and the up-tempo bop, “Vibrant” feat. Snoop Dogg. Thankfully, the pandemic did not slow Stokley down and he released two more promotional singles earlier this year.

Babyface

Second Listen Sunday : Babyface, The Day

Babyface was already a legendary hitmaker when his fourth album, The Day, arrived in stores in the fall of 1996. For the album’s first single, “This Is for the Lover in You,” a cover of the Shalamar classic, Babyface linked up with LL Cool J and the former members of Shalamar: Howard Hewett, Jody Watley, and Jeffrey Daniel.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© Copyright Reviews & Dunn. All rights reserved

website designed by Red Robin Digital designers