TLC Crazy Sexy Cool. On their second album, TLC downplay their overt rap connections, recording a smooth, seductive collection of contemporary soul reminiscent of both Philly soul and Prince, powered by new jack and hip-hop beats. Lisa Lopes contributes the occasional rap, but the majority of CrazySexyCool belongs to Tionne Watkins and Rozonda Thomas. While they aren't the most accomplished vocalists -- they have a tendency to be just slightly off-key -- the material they sing is consistently strong. As the cover ofPrince's "If I Was Your Girlfriend" indicates, TLC favor erotic, mid-tempo funk. Yet the group removes any of the psychosexual complexities of Prince's songs, leaving a batch of sexy material that just sounds good, especially the hit singles. Both "Creep" and "Red Light Special" have a deep groove that accentuates the slinky hooks, but it's "Waterfalls," with its gently insistent horns and guitar lines and instantly memorable chorus, that ranks as one of the classic R&B songs of the '90s. AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Michael Madden (MM): If we’re to talk about TLC in 2015, I feel we have no choice but to start with that scene in We’re the Millers, possibly the group’s most visible pop culture moment of late. I hope you’re already familiar, Sheldon. Upon hearing it come on the radio, the pale, skinny, entirely out-of-his-element teen Kenny not only sings along to “Waterfalls” but also raps Left Eye’s verse in its entirety. The thing is that, while no one would play this version for traditional listening enjoyment, Kenny is still determined to capture the song’s essence. It’s a faithful rendition.
There’s also the sense that he hasn’t heard “Waterfalls” in a while. He is remembering it, and relishing in it, right before our eyes. And so, I think that’s the main strength ofCrazySexyCool and of TLC in general: the memorability of the songs. Here, songwriting comes from the likes of Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, and Babyface, but it’s ultimately executed by the three young women — T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chilli — out front. Though they weren’t without their disagreements, they were seemingly made for each other, and their chemistry is what makes the choruses on “Creep” and “Waterfalls” so infectious.TLC Crazy Sexy Cool
Smooth, seductive collection of contemporary soul
Powered by new jack and hip-hop beats