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TLC‘s self-titled album is an adamant affirmation of core values; ones that have solidified them as iconoclasts and locks for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Comebacks of this nature are always sketchy as most feel that they have to adhere to current trends, but not TLC. They look only to themselves for inspiration embracing their experiences and the lessons learned. They keep to their style, yet speak to relevant issues—everything from positive body image and antiwar sentiments to appreciation for family and friends.

The beats are mild, but being the veterans that they are they use it to their advantage. Not once do they have to fight the beat or manipulate their comfort zone to suit outside interests. They simply ride the wave and let their voices soar. Love and empathy stand as the nucleus and they promote those ideas with fervor and excitement. There is certainly a formula, but one that they coined. A classy and expressive project with massive heart.

No Introduction

A spirited reintroduction to one of pop’s most mythical groups. The drama is at an all time high, and they are reminding the world of who the original divas were in this game. They’ve always been looked at as darlings, the type of artists who didn’t need to throw shade at anyone to get to the top, so it’s unusual the they would come out swinging. They are motivated, looking to reclaim their throne: [LISTEN]

No Introduction

Way Back

The comeback gets off to a proper start thanks to Uncle Snoop. He brings a cool sophistication, and mellows out the angst and static energy. The candy apple beat adds a nasty dose of funk, a throwback that has Parliament written all over it. The beauty is that they are firm in their identity, and content with their legacy. Love is the nucleus, as timeless as Prince and Marvin Gaye: [LISTEN

Way Back

It’s Sunny

Powerful words from a group who has seen and done it all. The beat lands in classic soul territory, embracing an Earth, Wind & Fire tone that beams with positivity. They are grateful for all that they have; explaining that for every up there is a down, and that remaining optimistic is the key. The message is simple, but it never gets old especially when coming from a place of experience: [LISTEN]

It's Sunny

Haters

There is a hater song on every r&b album, but what separates this one from others is the positive spin they put on it. Instead of zeroing in on hate and hate alone, they take it a step further and offer up a healthy dose of encouraging words. The media is always tearing away at people, but TLC has other ideas; believing that a kind heart and compassionate soul is all that you’ll ever need: [LISTEN]

Haters

Perfect Girls

The tender acoustics create a warm atmosphere. Self-image takes center stage, and they are directing the message to a very specific demographic. It radiates with humanity, demanding an end to the unrealistic image of the perfect girl. Too many young girls out there place these expectations on themselves and the result is almost always negative. A firm stand against self-hate: [LISTEN]

Perfect Girls

Start a Fire

A delicate lullaby written for hopeless lovers. The simple strumming creates a closeness that says that they are speaking from a place of authenticity. The noticeable absence of sexual innuendo is them promoting love in all its glory, which is a testament to their skills as writers. The maturity is palpable, and it makes the ideas relatable on multiple levels. Still fresh after all these years: [LISTEN]

Start a Fire

American Gold

The dynamic duo throws down, offering up their version of a protest song. Instead of raging, they are looking to extinguish hate with understanding. What they are saying makes perfect sense, and yet it continues to fall upon deaf ears. The powers that be lack empathy, and they are trying to warm them to the idea that war will only lead to pain and destruction. They are demanding accountability: [LISTEN]

American Gold

Scandelous

No mincing words here, an all out body carnival that is carnal in every way. The beat is Timbaland-esque, bubbling with desire and lust. Up until this point it has been pretty tame, but all that discipline flies out the door in one explosive gesture. Still they never let themselves go entirely, making sure to adhere to the ideas that got them there. Sexy and classy all in one, classic TLC: [LISTEN]

Scandelous

Aye Muthafucka

A slight detour from their MO creates a tense feeling. It is aggressive and they are going for the kill, which is out of context when considering the album’s creative direction. They are going for the jugular and it’s not nearly as believable as when they are talking about love and understanding. It sounds forced and awkward, a sound that is inspired by hate; the antithesis of what they are about: [LISTEN]

Ay Muthafucka

Joy Ride

Closing out the album with a shout out to mom. She was there from the beginning rooting them on as their biggest fan. Without her love they would have nothing; no identity or moxie. Her kindness and benevolence served as a guiding light when things got rough and this is their way of honoring not only her but all the moms who have stuck by their children through good and bad times: [LISTEN]

Joy Ride