En Vogue

Born to Sing

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The '80s produced countless "three girl and a drum machine"-type acts, but 1990 produced the trendsetting quartet En Vogue (courtesy of producers Thomas McElroy and Denzil Foster), who, with their individual vocal skills, sophisticated sense of fashion, sultry videos, and smart singles, went on to become one of the decade's most successful and influential acts. The album that started it all was Born to Sing, which scored two pop hits and two more R&B hits. First and foremost is "Hold On," a cool, shuffling, timeless hip-hop R&B track which peaked at number two on the pop charts and showcased the girls' effortless harmonies. "Lies," which alternated lead vocalists (and featured a rap courtesy of Debbie T.), managed to crack the Top 40 while proving that all members of the quartet were equally adept at handling lead vocals. The biting "You Don't Have to Worry" and the sensual "Don't Go" both scored high on the R&B charts without becoming pop hits. Other highlights include the funky new jill swing track "Strange" and their one-minute version of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" (which should have been a full-length recording). There are a couple of duds, including "Part of Me," "Just Can't Stay Away," and the CD bonus track, "Waitin' on You," but overall this album is a winner, and was just a preview of the massive success they would achieve with 1992's Funky Divas.

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