Bell Biv DeVoe


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Bell Biv DeVoe's first album of new material in eight years, BBD attempts to reclaim the popular success of the trio's first album. It's sexier than anything BBD had done before, every song being not about love but instead sex -- straight-up freaky sex with no apologies and little passion. In addition to the frank sleaziness, the former New Edition singers also do a lot of flossing here, rapping about champagne, cars, and money. This is a very brash and unapologetic album, an album that turns seduction into sport. Rick, Mike, and Ron are either bragging to you about how freaky they get with women or else bragging to the women about how they're going to freak them. There's really not much else discussed. And that's what ultimately makes this a relatively offensive album. In fact, it's quite misogynistic, particularly on songs like "Dance Bitch" and "Shorty Gone Get It"; you're supposed to cheer these guys on, but instead you can't help but sympathize with the voiceless women. Back when BBD wrote songs like "Do Me," they were sexy -- very sexy, in fact. However, the subtle and soft message of songs like "Do Me" has been eclipsed by blatant and aggressive messages like "Dance Bitch." This album is simply too harsh and too direct to be sexy, instead it's rather sadistic. And it's also too one-dimensional to appeal to anyone who is disinterested in hearing three guys channel their frustrations toward submissive, generic women with no voice. There are some nice beats here and there, but nothing novel enough to compensate for this album's disturbing portrait of contemporary gender roles. It's perhaps ironic that BBD's comeback album showcases precisely why the general public stopped caring about these guys in the first place. These guys went from "Candy Girl" to "Dance Bitch" and wonder why the masses grew weary.

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