Released: June 30, 2017
TLC were one of the biggest names in hip-hop culture during the 90s and early 00s. I can bet y’all kiddies would know at least ONE TLC song, and lip-sync the SHIT out of the track, because, truth be told, their formula to making a cheerful yet empowering jam was impeccable. Their touch to creating a juicy, well-rounded song was quite a special trait, considering that a lot of R&B and Hip-Hop music these days are pretty… well, you get the picture. But due to the extremely tragic death of third member in 2002—the iconic Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes—the fundamental question of TLC’s persistence to continue on as a two-piece band was up in the air. Whether Lisa had less lines in one song, or more in the other, TLC was a three-piece, and that’s that.
But looking forward—nearly 15 F-ing years since their last record—TLC have made a final comeback with their fourth studio album, simply titled TLC, which is a pretty simple yet effective finish. Considering that this was aided by a GoFundMe campaign to celebrate the essence of TLC and their legacy, you can tell that TLC are here to deliver two things; one, they are still one of the biggest and greatest girl groups in her-story (yes Ms. Thang), and two, it’s all for the fans. And that’s that. But one thing is for sure, they don’t need “No Introduction” (no puns intended). As the dark, grim R&B tune says, “We don’t need no introductions, We Back.” I think it’s pretty easy to understand that, well, TLC are back and they’re not gon’ play!
But one track into the album and we’re already swinging back with the classic synths and R&B frills that brought TLC to prominence, particularly in the nostalgic throwback, “Way Back”, which features the OG himself Snoop Dogg. Speaking of throwbacks, my absolute favourite on here is, in fact, a track that completely breaks the typical TLC formula and samples the classic disco anthem “September”. And what am I talkin’ bout exactly? Ohh, just the infectious tune “It’s Sunny”, which is complete FIRE to the CORE BETCH! I was completely sold by the overall production, especially with T’Boz’s and Chilli’s vocal deliveries, which have showcased how damn crystal clear they have aged since their hey-days!
But with every TLC album comes with the quintessential empowerment anthems, and that’s where “Haters” and “Perfect Girls” come into play. The girls are never afraid to change up their warm “love yourself” formula, though this time round, they decided to ride the wave of their contemporaries and fit the typical trend of the 2010s, and that’s why the R&B-induced “Haters” is quite boppin’ to jam out to. Same goes to “Perfect Girls”, but unlike the cheesy polish “Haters” manages to convey, this subtle melodic number keeps a more serious tone that was first shown onto their classics like “Unpretty” and “Diggin’ on You”. This is definitely a highlight to the record, and definitely one of their better releases.
Unfortunately, tracks like “Scandalous” and “Aye Muthafucka” are pure fillers. They’re not even fillers; there quite useless to be honest. And, lemme say this; I get it. It’s suppose to be the “Silly Ho”‘s to this record, but Ms. Thang… No… uuhhh nuuhhh… Goodbye. But aside from these tracks, TLC is a pretty good darn record to jam to, especially if you’re someone like me that want’s to remember the goodness that the girl-group first came out with. TLC have managed to master a pretty memorable and nostalgic listen with tracks like “Way Back” and “Perfect Girls”, and to an extent, it’s a very triumph closure to one of the greatest girl groups that ever lived! Of course, TLC will never be the same as they were, especially with the absence of the late Left Eye, but this is a stunning collection that needs to be taken fully adsorbed to understand. It may have been risky, but it’s well-executed and performed! Two ticks gurls!
Track List (Bold means best tracks):
- No Introduction
- Way Back (feat. Snoop Dogg)
- It’s Sunny <<Liam’s favourite>>
- Perfect Girls
- Start a Fire
- American Gold
- Aye Muthafucka
- Joy Ride