The New Formula

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While Today had enjoyed some solid chart success with their eponymous debut, the landscape had changed by 1991's The New Formula, which arrived in the shadow of Bell Biv Devoe's powerhouse debut, Poison. Their sophomore effort toughened the edges of its sound to compete with BBD, playing up its skittering arrangements and dropping the group's smooth harmonies in the background, the better to cop the production style of Poison. And while Teddy Riley had helmed much of Today, The New Formula tapped a gaggle of producers. The singles "Why You Get Funky on Me" and "Every Little Thing About You" flirted with chart success, and may have deserved some with their tightly wound arrangements (even if Today's bravado is a bit embarrassing). The positive vibe of the band's initial work was diluted too, sacrificed to this effort's supposed tougher edge and just plain weaker songs. Late-album filler like "Tennis Anyone" didn't help Today's case. Memorable lyric: "[Tennis] is the only game in the world where if you don't score, you still have love, baby." There was no shortage of new jack swing hangers-on in the late '80s and early '90s; it's unfortunate that Today got caught up in it with this effort, since their first was so promising.

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