The formula is all too painfully simple, and equally successful: take young boys and have them singing pop songs with catchy hooks targeted at a pre-teen audience. It's worked since the early evolution of the teen idol. But in the 1980s, Maurice Starr re-ignited the formula and remains unparalleled by anyone in history, brining to the forefront New Kids on the Block and New Edition, among others. Trying to re-create that formula for their own benefit, Motown established the Boys in the late '80s, and were mildly successful. The second attempt at this formula was Another Bad Creation and Coolin' at the Playground Ya Know. With Michael "Biv" Bivins as executive producer (himself a byproduct of the bubblegum circuit), Another Bad Creation was a full-force product of the new jack movement. Complete with sharp production skills by Dallas Austin, these six lads clad in oversized Starter sports apparel (fashionably coordinated by team) took the pop chart by storm with "Iesha" and "Playground." At its core, Coolin' is simply just an enjoyable, infectious, bubblegum/R&B record, updated for a new generation. And while Coolin' wasn't as successful as the debut release of their East Coast family counterparts (Boyz II Men's Cooleyhighharmony), it unquestionably helped to re-position Motown's status as the dominant force in R&B.
AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston