In 1988, the Ohio Players attempted a comeback with Back, their first album in seven years. Though the influential band hadn't had a major hit in over a decade, their classic funk and soul recordings of the 1970s were continuing to have an impact on black music -- anyone who was into hip-hop in 1988 couldn't help being bombarded with samples of "Love Rollercoaster," "Fire," and "Skin Tight." So the Players tried to beat the younger artists at their own game by going for a more high-tech production style, eliminating horns and incorporating elements of hip-hop and urban contemporary. Unfortunately, the material isn't very memorable, and the production ends up sounding stiff and mechanical. The horns, once a big part of the Players' sound, are sorely missed -- and keyboards aren't a very good replacement. While the Players deserve credit for trying something different and attempting to be relevant to the hip-hop/urban contemporary scene of the late 1980s, Back simply wasn't strong enough to return them to the top of the charts. Unless you're a completist, it's best to pass on this CD and stick with essential Players classics such as Fire, Honey, and Skin Tight.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson