On their eighth album, their first in three years, Jagged Edge return to Jermaine Dupri and So So Def. They also realign with Bryan-Michael Cox, the songwriter who had a hand in some of their biggest hits, including "Let's Get Married" and "Walked Outta Heaven." The Casey brothers, Kyle Norman, and Richard Wingo keep their circle small here, with only a handful of additional associates. It largely pays off. The album, presented as a sequel to their 2000 commercial breakthrough, is heavy on the type of slow jams -- vulnerable but swaggering with deeply resonant basslines -- for which the group has been known. There's a particularly fine stretch from the fourth through sixth tracks, all plush ballads, while later track "Make It Clear" rattles and thumps like little else and is so neatly arranged that griping about its rather ungainly materialism would be petty. In 2014, group R&B was in shorter supply than ever -- an issue not addressed in the parts of the Recording Academy "state of R&B" discussion sampled in the album intro -- so JE Heartbreak II's mere existence is worthy of attention. Just as striking, there are no guest rappers. Jagged Edge's attitude here seems to be a commendable "This is us, take it or leave it." They have one of their better albums to show for it.
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman