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Hot R&B Singles Review: 1997

Welcome back to another Hot R&B Singles Review. Let’s get started.

LINK TO 1997 HOT R&B SINGLES CHART

Don’t Let Go (Love)-En Vogue: This was En Vogue’s last single to hit the Top 10 and it’s a pretty damn good song. I like the production and how it has a rock edge to it with those guitars and piano groove. The singing is on-point, which isn’t surprising for En Vogue. I dig this. I give it a 4/5.

On & On-Erykah Badu: In the late 90s, a new R&B subgenre called neo-soul started blowing up, which was reminiscent of a lot of 70s soul music and was more conscious-driven in its content. This is where you get artists like Maxwell, D’Angelo, and Erykah Badu, who scores the first number one neo-soul song on the R&B charts with On & On. It’s great. The smokey atmosphere of the production, Erykah Badu’s jazzier vocal performance, references to the teachings of the Five-Percent Nation, etc. It’s a damn good representation of what the neo-soul genre has to offer and considering that we’re now entering the shiny suit era of rap and R&B, something with a little more substance was needed to balance things out. I give this a 5/5.

In My Bed-Dru Hill: Next up is Dru Hill, led by Sisqo, who we all know from Thong Song. But before that song, Dru Hill had a couple of hits under their belt including In My Bed, which is about a guy who hears that his girlfriend has been cheating on him. That idea itself could make for an interesting song, but this particular song doesn’t really hook me. Sisqo and Dru Hill aren’t bad singers, but they’re not particularly great, either, and the production’s kinda weaksauce with those electric keys. Overall, I’ve heard worse songs, but I don’t think it’s good, either. I give it a 2/5.

G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T.-Changing Faces: I don’t care for this song. It’s kinda bland and dull in its production and singing. Content-wise, it’s another breakup song that isn’t that interesting whatsoever. It’s a 2/5.

Never Make A Promise-Dru Hill: Here’s the other Dru Hill song that became a hit this year, Never Make A Promise. It’s okay, I guess. It is another generic love song, but I can tolerate it more than In My Bed. I give it a 3/5.

You Make Me Wanna…-Usher: Here’s a guy who I’m sure you’ve all heard of, Usher. At this point, the then-18 year old Usher was set to release his second album My Way, which contained the single You Make Me Wanna…, which is about him wanting to leave his girl for a female friend that he had feelings for. Given to a lesser talent, this would make anyone look like an utter douchebag, but this song portrays that situation as a guy who’s conflicted about his feelings and doesn’t know what to do. Also, it helps that the production is rooted on an acoustic groove. This would be one of many hits for Usher as his career advances to the 2000s. I give this a perfect 5/5.

My Body-LSG: LSG is a group that consists of Gerald Levert, Keith Sweat, and Johnny Gill. They had a hit with My Body, which is a solid song. The vocals from all three men are on-point and the production sticks. It’s the kind of sex jam that works. Cool song. I give it a 3.5/5.

A Song For Mama-Boyz II Men: I’ve already talked about A Song For Mama in my Best Songs of the 90s list and more recently, my Best Songs About Moms list. So I’d rather you go read those for my thoughts on this song because I have nothing new to add. It’s a great song and it’s getting a perfect 5/5.

BEST

You Make Me Wanna…

HONORABLE MENTION

A Song For Mama

WORST

G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T.

DISHONORABLE MENTION

In My Bed

And those were the number one songs on the Hot R&B Singles chart of 1997. Next time, we’ll be looking at the number one Hot R&B Singles of 1998.

Peace!!

SONG OF THE WEEK

Under Pressure-Queen & David Bowie

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