Ooooooohhh...On the TLC Tip

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TLC's debut album, Ooooooohhh...on the TLC Tip, established the trio's image and unorthodox fashion sense, which at this point was based on baggy, brightly colored clothes and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes' trademark condom. Some accused them of borrowing their look from Bell Biv DeVoe, and their female-positive, pro-safe-sex attitudes from Salt-n-Pepa, but TLC has the boundless enthusiasm to make it all convincingly their own. What they don't always have are the songs to pull off a consistent album. The most infectious songs are naturally the singles: "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" is bouncy, catchy, and sexually assertive, and "What About Your Friends" is an equally danceable meditation on true friendship. The chart-topping ballad "Baby-Baby-Baby" is typically well-crafted Babyface, if a little by-the-numbers. Some of the album tracks keep the sense of fun going, but others fall flat -- not that they're bad, they just aren't that memorable. On the plus side, Left Eye gets a lot of space for her distinctively nasal, girlish rapping, and the entire group drops rhymes on "Das da Way We Like 'Em." Although it's uneven, the best moments of On the TLC Tip deserved their popularity, and set the stage for the group's blockbuster success the next time out.

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