Bobby Brown began to spiral out of control after Bobby, his follow-up to the blockbuster Don't Be Cruel, failed to match its predecessor's success. Instead of being famous for his music, Brown became famous for being Whitney Houston's husband, often landing in the tabloids for his bad behavior. He began to rehabilitate his image with New Edition's 1996 reunion album, Home Again, but he didn't make a big impact on the record, and neither of the album's two hit singles featured him on lead vocals. His weak presence on Home Again left many questions about his musical vitality in the late '90s unanswered, giving his 1997 comeback record Forever the duty of re-establishing him as a preeminent contemporary soul artist. Brown struggles to prove his vitality on Forever, turning out a series of impeccably produced ballads and dance numbers, but it's not an entirely successful record. Often, it sounds like he's trying too hard, especially since many of the songs just aren't that interesting. Still, when he has the right song, such as the single "Feelin' Inside," he invests it with charisma and charm, turning it into irresistible urban soul. Unfortunately, those moments don't come often enough on Forever.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
feat: Whitney Houston