Pebbles surfaced on the scene in 1988 with her self-titled debut album and the two major hits it yielded: "Girlfriend" and "Mercedes Boy." "Girlfriend" continued in the Jody Watley tradition, with hard, urban dance beats and a dramatic story line. "Girlfriend" was also an early hit for Babyface as a songwriter, and, like Karyn White's Babyface-penned hits of the time, possessed an earthy grit which became lost under the adult contemporary gloss found in latter-day Babyface compositions. "Mercedes Boy," a sleek, sophisticated slice of urban dance pop, proved an even bigger hit than its predecessor, although the version here is somewhat tepid compared to the superior single remix, which can be found on Pebbles' 2000 Greatest Hits collection. Pebbles, like her contemporaries Karyn White, Jody Watley, and Paula Abdul, became a big star in the late 1980s, but that success could no longer translate to the early 1990s, when R&B took a much more aggressive and hard-edged direction. The rest of Pebbles' debut was somewhat pleasurable, but lightweight and rather unmemorable, and a third single, "Take Your Time," failed to ignite the charts, although her two later albums showed a considerable growth in artistry. Regardless, no collection of 1980s dance/pop/R&B would be complete without these two major hits, but the casual fan would be better off with Greatest Hits.
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AllMusic Review by Jose F. Promis