Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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New Edition

  • Candy Girl [Streetwise, 1983] B
  • New Edition [MCA, 1984] B+
  • All for Love [MCA, 1986] B-
  • New Edition's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 [MCA, 1991] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Candy Girl [Streetwise, 1983]
In which amassed svengalis manage an album that won't leave those captivated by the big hit feeling ripped off--the rap is cute, the recitative is cute, and "Popcorn Love" is a neat kiddiephile conceit. But the kiddies don't sing that good. And they're not even related. B

New Edition [MCA, 1984]
Though a confusion of production teams--five in all, none associated with the ousted Arthur Baker except by ripoff (from Freez's "I.O.U.," very clever)--gives these kids' major-label hit a misbegotten look, in the end the album achieves the winning commercial variety Baker didn't get out of them. But I admit it--for me the biggest winner is "My Secret," which does sound an awful lot like the Jackson 5. B+

All for Love [MCA, 1986]
Bright and shiny as a new cliché, Ralph Tresvant is equal to any J5 (or MJ) fantasy the group's multifarious writers and producers throw at him, and for most of the first side so are they. Second side's more like, you guessed it, the Force M.D.'s, and won't keep anybody in school either. B-

New Edition's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 [MCA, 1991]
sometimes bubblegum grows up into redpop mousse, sometimes into gunk you stick under your seat ("Candy Girl," "Mr. Telephone Man") **