Troop

Deepa

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Like the Jackson 5 and New Edition, Troop inevitably matured as it went along. Troop had a teen-friendly approach in the beginning, but after several years, the quintet was no longer catering to the teen market. So those who expected the Troop of 1992 to sound exactly like the Troop of 1988 were in for a disappointment. Released in 1992, Troop's third album, Deepa was a major step forward for the group creatively. There is nothing teen-oriented about this CD, which essentially falls into the urban contemporary category but shows a strong awareness of classic soul. Though the production style is high-tech and hip-hop-influenced, classic soul values assert themselves on smooth, sleek offerings like "Whatever It Takes (To Make You Stay)," "Strange Hotel" and the Babyface contribution "Sweet November." Romantic ballads and slow jams are a high priority, and Troop (like Boyz II Men) successfully makes the R&B vocal group tradition relevant to the early 1990s--if En Vogue picked up where Labelle left off, you could easily argue that Deepa puts an early 1990's spin on what northern soul groups like the Chi-Lites and the Manhattans accomplished in the 1970s. If you only acquire one Troop CD, Deepa would be the best choice by far.

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