Start taking notes class, cause I’m about to break down ten years of music in one paragraph. In the 90’s, black male R&B groups like Jagged Edge, 112 and Boyz II Men not only sold millions of albums, they allowed guys everywhere to cop a feel during slow dances (I’m still amazed teachers let the DJ play I’ll Make Love to You at school dances). Then, like the Cloverfield monster with blond highlights, the Boy Band Era arrived and wiped the Black Male R&B Group Era off the mainstream radio map. Backstreet, N’Sync and their …
Fans can also check out Day26's previous albums: Day26 - Forever in a Day
DJBooth Album Review
Which is why, ladies and gentlemen, we need to recognize August 26th, 2007 as a truly historic occasion. See, the joining of Brian, Michael, Q, Robert and Willie into Day 26 (check the date above) is ultimately a sign that the Age of the Black Male R&B Group could be beginning again. I mean let’s be real for a moment; why isn’t Donnie in the group? Because he’s white and looks like he belongs in a boy band. If Diddy is truly trying to bring the 112 style to a new generation, as I believe he is, he couldn’t possibly include Donnie. But two crucial questions still remain: why can’t Bad Boy come up with a decent f**king name for their groups, and can Day 26’s self-titled debut album deliver musically?
The first thing any black male r&b group needs is a sexy slow jam, and Day 26 (the album and the group) may not set the bedroom on fire, but at the very least they’re setting off the fire alarms. The legendary Bryan Michael Cox, whose primarily responsible for the album’s smoothed-out sound, delivers a pulsing and pounding beat for Day 26 to get down on What It Feels Like. Thankfully the Bad Boy team leaves the boy’s vocals largely effects-free, the truest sign they can actually sing, and they respond with an impressive performance. When it comes to sexual slow jams Day 26 is still on the teenage side, they’re a ways off from delivering something on the level of Peaches and Cream, but it’s a solid start.
Eventually even the best lovin’ isn’t enough to maintain a relationship, a fact I know only too well, and the inevitable drama sets in. That’s when you truly need a r&b group the most, and Day 26 gives their take on the classic “I’m sorry baby” on the hypnotic Come In. Lead by Q, easily the most likely candidate to go solo, the boys start the apology festivities off with some aceppela harmonizing, followed by a quietly strong Runners beat and some well-intentioned, semi-believable tearful vocal breakdowns. Listen, if you need to tell your wife you impregnated another girl your only hope of survival is throwing on Usher’s Confessions. But if you got caught with your ex-girlfiriend’s name in your cell phone, Day 26 might just be able to heal the wounds. For the record, that's exactly the difference between good and great.
Bad Boy knows that all the soulful love-makin and apologizing in the world is nothing without a solid hit, and Day 26 offers two primary contenders. First up is the club-ready Got Me Going, featuring some Ne-Yo-esque clap-heavy production, decent but forgettable vocals and of course, some random Diddy vocals (you knew it was coming). Cynics who will point to Got Me Going as proof that Day 26 isn’t not quite ready for primetime, but the true measure of a debut artist is how good their average songs are, and if Got Me Going is Day 26 at their most mediocre they’re in pretty good shape. Now if it were up to me, and lord knows it’s not, I’d pick Exclusive as the lead single. Clean, catchy and danceable, Exclusive has just enough pop appeal to attract the crucial hyperventilating-teenage-girl demographic, but isn’t so sweet it veers into boy band territory. In the end then, Exclusive may be the perfect analogy for Day 26. They’re no longer boys but yet men, not quite a boy band but not quite Boyz II Men. Is this album truly the second coming of the Age of the Black Male Super Group? Not really, but it’s close enough to make me hopeful, and that’s going to have to be enough – for now.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 03/26/08
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First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Got Me Going" (2008)
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