Jagged Edge – The Remedy (2011)
It’s been four years since the release of the last Jagged Edge album, Baby Makin’ Project, and there was little about the album that was traditional J.E.; though the production was more consistent than their self-titled 2006 project, the quality was severely lacking as the group struggled to juggle their R&B and pop sensibilities. With this latest effort, Jagged Edge hopes to provide the Remedy to their musical woes, attempting to win back fans with the classic J.E. touch while also reviving a stagnant contemporary R&B scene.
For the most part, The Remedy succeeds in its mission, as this album combines the best elements of J.E. Heartbreak and Hard, while keeping the sound largely fresh for 2011.
The production is mostly handled by J.E.’s own Casey Bros. (Brandon and Brian), whose practice in the studio appears to have paid off. In addition to working the boards, the twins appear to have sharpened their songwriting skills, as their lyrics show a bit more maturity to reflect the group’s age and evolution. While the quartet has remained intact since their 1997 debut, their sound has changed in stark contrast to the familiarity of their vocals. As much as the group tries to mimic their hit ballads of the past, however, they fall barely short of their goal. This does not detract from the quality of the album, as their attempts are much better than their efforts on previous projects.
The Remedy is not nearly as schizophrenic as Jagged Edge or Baby Makin’ Project, as the album maintains a consistent sound from beginning to end. The album was likely made with the intention of continuous playback in the bedroom, which largely succeeds in that end. There is no room for social introspection here, nor should listeners expect otherwise on an album with song titles such as “Let’s Make Love,” “Lipstick,” and “When the Bed Shakes.” This is essentially the album that Baby Makin’ Project should’ve been.
The only significant gripes with the album may come as a matter of personal taste: while I love the album, very few songs stood out as singles, which could hurt the commercial viability of the project. Then again, it is entirely possible that the group made this album strictly for their existing fanbase, with no real intentions of conversion. This is far from a radio-made album, as each song is arranged in such a way that makes it difficult to skip tracks without the experience feeling incomplete.
In many respects, The Remedy is an album made for 1997, that was released in 2011. Given the current state of R&B, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 (Great) — Old-school Jagged Edge with a new-school twist; the album that their last two efforts should’ve been.
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