After 14 long years, the legendary En Vogue has thrown their hat back in the ring with a highly polished effort in Electric Cafe. As if it were ever in question, the main themes running through the album are love and relationships. Being the veterans that they are, they keep the lyrical direction tight and clean; never too saucy as it would detract from their graceful style of play. With the absence of notable stars Dawn Robinson and Maxine Jones, chemistry was certainly a concern, but Rhona Bennett seamlessly steps in and more than makes up the difference.

The production is what elevates Electric Cafe to a different level. The combination of elegant lyrics and seething beats make for a powerful contrast. While the album only has one feature, it’s the behind-the-scenes contributions from Raphael Saadiq, Dem Jointz and longtime collaborators Denzil Foster &Thomas McElroy that make the album shine. With the proper team behind them, En Vogue were able to modernize their timeless sound without ever compromising their integrity. Grown folks R&B that hits all the right notes.

Blue Skies

A thunderous beat inspires them to open up and offer heartfelt words of encouragement. The ideas are so uplifting that it feels like a gospel song, but there’s no religious marker which makes it a universal effort that anyone with pain in their heart can turn to when things get tough. They’re encouraging those to look past the darkness, and move towards that inner light that says “yes you can:” [LISTEN]

Déjà Vu

The atmosphere remains lively, and the flirtatious nature that we’ve all come to love comes out in full force. Class is the operative word, and they’re embracing a playful attitude that captures the innocence of courtship. They’re so smitten by their man (or men) that they can’t help but think about him all the time. He’s running through their minds and leaving them with déjà vu: [LISTEN]

Rocket

The passion is ripe, but the world doesn’t agree. Instead of fighting back with aggression and hate, they’re letting their love take them to another place, a planet where they can settle into each other’s arms for all of eternity. The polished beat creates a futuristic atmosphere, one that distances them from the sounds of yesteryear. It’s a progressive step that doesn’t compromise integrity: [LISTEN]

Reach 4 Me

En Vogue’s recipe for love includes unwavering commitment, and being there when times are tough. They’re reminding their S.O. that all they have to do is call, and they’ll come running to them with open arms. That type of devotion is rare, and it’s not often you hear someone give themselves over so willingly. They’re looking to build an empire, but it starts first with a strong foundation of trust: [LISTEN]

Electric Cafe

A sassy warning to all the players who think they can get away with murder. These are vets and they’ve heard it all when it comes to sorry excuses, and they’re not about to change now; not for some greenhorn who’s new to the game. Their personal well-being is what matters most, and if they’re not happy there is no sense in continuing with the rigmarole. A firm line has been drawn: [LISTEN]

Life

Instead of relying on trends, they tap into a timeless sound to get their message across. The beat starts simple enough, a sparse landscape where their message of positivity can shine bright. Around the halfway mark, it blossoms into a full on groover, one that proves that house music is still alive and well. The lyrics are slightly generic, but it’s the enthusiasm behind it that makes it soar: [LISTEN]

Love the Way

The blistering beat has the ladies putting their fiery passion on full display. They’re heated, and the love is seething from their pores. They’re throwing caution to the wind and letting their impulses drive them forward. With age and experience on their side, they know the fine line between being passionate and reckless, and like the vets that they are they’re able to masterfully toe the line: [LISTEN]

Ocean’s Deep

The exuberance continues as they testify to the power of love. They’re comparing it to a vast ocean; expansive and all-encompassing. In these waters compassion is the cornerstone, and all who have an open heart are welcome to join. For them it’s a movement, and it starts first with the internal workings of the heart. It’s not something you can fake, but something you genuinely have to feel: [LISTEN]

Have a Seat

Uncle Snoop enters the fray, and serves as the knight in shining armor. The ladies have been dogged out by a man who apparently doesn’t know what a real woman looks and acts like. Fortunately, Snoop is in the picture and spits the proper game to help get the ladies back into the swing of things. It’s a sweet and sour combination that hits the palate just right. A winning formula executed by vets: [LISTEN]

I’m Good

It’s been a rough ride, but they’ve finally turned a corner. After feeling sorry for themselves, they’re able to look in the mirror and feel proud. The clouds have broken and the warmth from the sun is giving them new life. It’s an inspiring ode that is meant to instill self-confidence and pride, a message that can be applied to any age or gender. Their universal message of love lives on: [LISTEN]

So Serious

The beat gets deep, a hip-hop inspired element that brings them back to their roots. It’s all business, and when it comes to love they wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s a lot at stake, and they want their S.O.s to know that they’re all in. The idea has them approaching everyday tasks with a level of attention that is not in their usual Rolodex. They’re committed and forging on full force: [LISTEN]

Have a Seat (Non Rap Version)

In truth the effort is better without Snoop. They’re strong enough to carry the message on their own, and the chemistry within the group is not worth disrupting. Their playful flirting takes center stage, and falls right in line with their jovial nature. They’ve established themselves as legends and don’t need to overextend themselves. It’s pure love, and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy: [LISTEN]