Immature

Playtyme Is Over

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Enjoying a largely teenage and preteen following, Immature moved from Virgin to MCA with its sophomore effort, Playtyme Is Over. The label switch didn't mean a change in focus -- the group (whose members were 11 or 12 at the time) still offered an abundance of hip-hop-influenced, medium-tempo new jack R&B grooves. And the same comparisons were being made; if you believed the hype, Immature was to the 1990s what Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers were to the 1950s, the Jackson 5 was to the 1970s and New Edition was to the 1980s. But those groups had the chops and excellent songs to back up their hype; none of the tunes on Playtyme Is Over are memorable, let alone excellent. Cuts like "Walk You Home" and "Never Lie" have a generic, cookie-cutter quality, and they sound like the product of a marketing meeting rather than artistic inspiration. When Lymon, Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown were teenagers and sang about adolescent love, the sincerity jumped right out at you -- put on Lymon's "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," New Edition's "Mr. Telephone Man" or the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," and you find yourself thinking about what a bittersweet time adolescence could be. Put on Playtyme is Over, and all you're thinking about is how contrived and formulaic Immature sounds.

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