dirty martini

old music for new people

90s r&b soundtrack gems August 14, 2007

soul_food.jpg

 r&b soundtracks rarely carry the big hits of larger budget films – for a while now they’ve bought up extra material from established artists’ album sessions or provided a valuable way in for newcomers.

there seems to have been a shift in the way that soundtracks are purchased. back in the 70s and 80s we bought them after seeing a film to recapture the moment – grease and dirty dancing spring immediately to mind – but now we often buy them before or even with no intention of seeing the movie. i probably own at least five soundtracks to films i’ve never seen.

so here are some extras from 90s artists that all too often get lost.

90s soundtrack bonus cutsdownload here

sunset park – aaliyah – are you ready – 1996

despite being released the same year as her timbaland-produced groundbreaking sophomore album, this gently bumping effort was clearly an offcut form her earlier debut.

money talks – swv – tell me how you want it – 1997

swv were soundtrack veterans by this point, having already contributed similarly slinky slow jams to waiting to exhale (all night long) and hav plenty (where you are).

murder was the case – jodeci – come up to my room – 1995

i actually prefer jodeci’s mid-fast tempo tracks more than their sometimes overblown ballads, and wish they’d made more deeply sexy joints like this one…

dangerous minds – aaron hall – curiosity – 1995

being part of the same set as the huge ‘gangsta’s paradise’ was either a blessing (sales) or a curse (overshadowed).

soul food – tenderoni – baby i – 1997

one hit wonders tenderoni con ributed this much-loved track to one of the decade’s biggest soundtracks. should have been a launchpad to bigger and better things.

the best man – allure – when the shades go down – 1998

hard to believe this was an offcut from their debut as its probably stronger than 90% of the tracks on there…

high school high – faith evans – i just can’t – 1996

reminds me of the summer when r&b went global, and tupac was killed…

hav plenty – jon b and coko – keep it real – 1998

got a lot of airplay at the time, i loved this and splashed out £££ on the import.

the nutty professor – monica – ain’t nobody – 1996

one of monica’s better offerings after her strong debut, featuring treach of naughty by nature.

waiting to exhale – tlc – this is how it works – 1995

a new tlc track was a rarity and after crazysexycool, much in demand.

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don’t call them new jill swing June 4, 2007

when new jack swing started to falter, a new influx of girl groups, including swv, appeared circa 1992, along with mary j blige, and were hailed as ‘new jill swing’. see what they did there?

 

this was in fact a misleading label as the music these girls were making wasn’t a feminised new jack sound. it was in fact far grittier, and more likely to take its cues from naughty by nature than guy. another labelling hiccup occurred when, logically, since their names begin with a ‘t’ ‘l’ and ‘c’, you guessed it, that was to be the group’s name before the eventual tlc beat them to it within a matter of weeks.

 

most of these girl groups, in order to compete in the g-funk era, were forced to dress and act like men. gone were the lyrca minidresses and heels. in with the homegirl persona and lumberjack shirts. swv didn’t go down this route. maybe because they were still in high school, and hadn’t developed the right kind allure to carry it off. they were far from ugly, but its fair to say swv would never have been accused of possessing looks over talent.

 

coko, lelee and taj may have been young, but i had no idea at the time. they sang like women, in contrast to left eye’s cute rapping for tlc. they dressed older than their years, unlike jade, who appeared to still be hanging out with the underage street crowd. they weren’t too cool, which made them real. years later, their songs sound fresh.

their accessibility saw them enjoy huge success until their split in 1998. coko then embarked on a solo career, to lukewarm success. taj married a dallas cowboys footballer and currently has a reality show amusingly titled ‘i married a baller‘. lelee recently revealed that the group received little financial reward for their work and that she’s been struggling to stay afloat since the group split. sound familiar?

twelve swv essentialsdownload here

 

right here

their most famous track has many versions. the most ubiquitous is definitely the michael jackson sampling human nature mix, but this g-man mix is probably lesser known and proves there was more to the song than good sampling.

 

 

i’m so into you

again, there were several versions of this track – the original and allstars mix are widely available, but this teddy riley mix featuring wreckx-n-effect bumps along nicely. the first swv track i ever bought.

 

weak

the original ballad is nice, but this remix is perfect midtempo 90s jeep music. it had stuttering beats before timbaland invented them and twittery, electronic background vocals. should be on every chillout playlist.

 

 

anything

again, the original is ok but this remix, featured on above the rim, with the wu-tang clan, is something else. i defy you not to dance if you hear this in a club.
can’t cope
an unreleased track which sounds early 90s to me so probably a leftover from ‘it’s about time’. nice production, this has become one of my favourites.

all night long
featured on the waiting to exhale soundtrack, this is one of swv’s best slow jams.

use your heart
this version is a duet featuring rome. a young pharrell williams produced this, and several other tracks on swv‘s second album ‘a new beginning’.

mystery
another unreleased track, very unusual arrangement and I’m wondering why this failed to get past whichever album session it was recorded in.

can we
from 1997’s booty call soundtrack, this is one swv‘s most popular tracks.

tell me how you want it
another soundtrack contribution, this time from the money talks soundtrack.

rain
i’m not sure many people realise this is actually a cover of an 80s vesta williams track. this is one of those rare times when the cover is better.

where you are
a jackson five cover for the hav plenty soundtrack. i prefer this version to wacko’s pre-teen squeaking.