Bobby Brown

Greatest Hits

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Although the bulk of Bobby Brown's most important work is featured on Don't Be Cruel, he was a fairly consistent singles artist throughout most of his solo career (that is, when he actually recorded). Greatest Hits doesn't feature anything from 1997's lackluster Forever, but that's entirely forgivable; the 14 tracks that are here include an amazing 11 Top Ten R&B hits, six of which went to number one, and eight of which also reached the pop Top Ten. Brown's hit duets with Glenn Medeiros ("She Ain't Worth It") and wife Whitney Houston ("Something in Common") are also included, although there's nothing from his first or second go-rounds with New Edition. However, there doesn't need to be -- the body of work presented on Greatest Hits, while not completely uniform in style or production, is arguably the catchiest urban pop-soul of its time. There are a few silky ballads, but Brown's real bread and butter is slamming, up-tempo new jack dance-pop. On those numbers, Brown is the total urban contemporary package, able to stick with the melody, improvise around it, or throw in credible raps that complement the hard-hitting hip-hop-derived beats. He may not be a technical master, but Brown's understanding of how to construct a tight, catchy single makes Greatest Hits an essential purchase for even the most casual fans of late-'80s/early-'90s R&B.

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