|Studio album by TLC|
|Released||November 15, 1994|
|Recorded||1993 – September 1994|
|Studio||Doppler Studios, Bosstown Studios, KrossWire Studio GADaddy's; D.A.R.P.Studios
Music Grinder Studios
The Hit Factory
|Genre||hip hop soul|
|Singles from CrazySexyCool|
CrazySexyCool is the second studio album by American girl group TLC, first released by LaFace Records on November 15, 1994. Following the groups record deal, they released their debut album Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip (1992) which was met with positive reviews and commercial success. The following year the group began working on the follow up album, however the production was unproductive due to personal struggles notably those of band member Lisa Lopes who was in an temperamental relationship and was suffering with alcoholism. The albums recording lasted until September 1994, with Lopes being forced to have less input due to being in rehab.
The album saw the group reunite with producers Dallas Austin and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds as well as new collaborators Organized Noize and Chucky Thompson, the album also featured contributions from Sean "Puffy" Combs who helped with the notable hip hop soul sound. An R&B and hip hop soul album, CrazySexyCool featured hip-hop beats, funk, deep grooves, propulsive rhythms and smooth production. The albums lyrical content was seen as a departure from the groups debut and was seen as a coming-of-age project which explored themes sexuality, romanticism, inexperience and youthful optimism.
The album was met with critical acclaim and commercial success, debuting at number three on the Billboard 200 CrazySexyCool spent over two years on the Billboard album charts, and was certified Diamond by the RIAA, making TLC the first girl group in history to be awarded diamond status. CrazySexyCool has since sold over 23 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling album by an American girl group, and the second best-selling album worldwide by a girl group behind Spice Girls' Spice. The album has since been featured on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and was, in 2008, listed as a "New Classic" by Entertainment Weekly.
- 1 Background
- 2 Recording
- 3 Music and lyrics
- 4 Release and promotion
- 5 Reception
- 6 Awards and nominations
- 7 Track listing
- 8 Personnel
- 9 Charts
- 10 Certifications
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 External links
On February 28, 1991, Watkins and Lopes signed production, management, and publishing deals with Pebbitone, with Perri Reid becoming their general manager. The two-member TLC-Skee made its first on-record appearance on a track for LaFace act Damian Dame's self-titled 1991 LP. As well as appearing on Jermaine Jackson's album "You Said". Pebbles found the third member in Rozonda Thomas, one of Damian Dame's part-time backup dancers. Thomas was signed to the act in April 1991, at about which time the group's name was shortened to TLC. To keep the meaning behind the TLC name being an acronym for the girls' names, Watkins became "T-Boz", Lopes became "Left-Eye", and Thomas became "Chilli". The girls were signed to LaFace in May 1991 through the production deal with Pebbitone. Their records would be distributed by Arista Records/BMG. They were immediately set up to go into the studio with producers Reid and Edmonds, Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, and Marley Marl to produce their first album.
Shortly after being signed the bad began working on their debut album Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip with Babyface, L.A. Reid, Dallas Austin, De Funky Bunch, Jermaine Dupri and Marley Marl, who helped Lopes with the songwriting. Production finished in December 1991. The album became a commercial success peaking at number fourteen on the US Billboard 200 and reached the third spot on the R&B Albums chart. According to Nielsen SoundScan it sold 2.5 million copies in the US. It was eventually certified 4× Platinum by the RIAA for shipping four million copies in the US.
Lopes was often vocal about her personal life and difficult past. She readily admitted that she had come from an abusive, alcoholic background and struggled with alcohol problems herself. These problems became headline news in 1994, when she set fire to Andre Rison's tennis shoes in a bathtub, which ultimately spread to the mansion they shared, destroying it. Lopes claimed that Rison had beaten her after a night out, and she set fire to his shoes to get back at him. However, she said burning down the house was an accident. Lopes later revealed that she did not have a lot of freedom within the relationship and was abused mentally and physically, having released all her frustrations on the night of the fire. Lopes, who was sentenced to five years probation and therapy at a halfway house, was never able to shake the incident from her reputation. Her relationship with Rison continued to make headlines, with rumors of an imminent wedding, later debunked by People magazine.
The albums recording began in 1993 and continued through till September 1994, the album was recorded at numerous studios including Doppler Studios, Bosstown Recording Studios, KrossWire Studio and GADaddy's; D.A.R.P.Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as Music Grinder Studios in Hollywood, and The Hit Factory, in New York. During the albums recording Left Eye was forced to have less of an input and was featured less than her peers, because during the recording sessions Left Eye pleaded guilty to her arson charge, and was sent to a rehab facility instead, which is why Left Eye appears on so little of the album. Her rehab facility only released her for a couple of recording sessions, during which time she cut just a handful of album-worthy rap verses.
For the albums production and writing, the group worked with producers including Babyface, Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri and more. Chilli stated that they had used these producers because they always worked with them stating that they worked with Dallas, Babyface, and Jermaine on the first album "the only thing we had new was Organized Noize." Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest did the interludes, however during the albums recording the band members weren’t always in the studio together; sometimes they went in one by one because due to scheduling.
"Waterfalls" was written by band member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes with Marqueze Etheridge and Organized Noize, who also produced the song. Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins perform the song with Lopes, who also provides a rap. The background vocals are performed by the members of TLC, as well as Debra Killings and Cee-Lo Green. Speaking of Green's involvement, Watkins said, "He was in Goodie Mob, we grew up together, we go way back. He did and it was amazing! I love his voice." The lyrics of the song reference 1990s issues such as violence associated with illegal drug trade and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. At the end of the second verse, the group sings, "His health is fading and he doesn't know why / Three letters took him to his final resting place." Watkins said that it was important for the group to "get the message across without seeming like preaching."
Music and lyrics
A hip hop soul album, CrazySexyCool was noted as a departure from the groups debut, and was seen as move from the groups predominantly rap connects. The album was noted for having smooth tempo songs, based around contemporary soul similar to that of Philly soul and Prince according to Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic. Erlewine continued to state that the album is "powered" by new jack wing and hip-hop beats with influences of mid-tempo funk, deep grooves, horns and guitar lines. CrazySexyCool was seen as rebellious and free from the traditional R&B of the 90's which struggled to break out of its box, the album contained sensual R&B sounds built over edgy hip-hop beats. The albums production was characterized as containing stripped-back, propulsive rhythms along with clap-commanding high production, bouncy funk elements and smooth rhythms.
The albums lyrical content was also see as an departure from Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip. A reviewer from Entertainment Weekly, stated that compared to the lyrical content of their debut which was seen as being condom consciousness, and "kiddie-cute hip-hop", CrazySexyCool is filled with adult-female sexuality, and "hide- and-seek coyness" the reviewer also noted shallowness of their lyrics. CrazySexyCool was seen as a coming-of-age sophomore album, according to Sheldon Pearce from Consequence of Sound, who stated the album had themes of "guileless and horny twenty something" lyrics that harmlessly explored sexuality and romanticism with the "naïveté that comes from inexperience and youthful optimism." The album lyrics also touch upon themes of relationships both the impassioned and erotic sides.
Release and promotion
To promote CrazySexyCool, TLC, along with Boyz II Men, Montell Jordan and Mary J. Blige performed in the annual Budweiser Superfest Tour in early 1995, consisting of 23 dates in North America. The Atlanta, Chicago and Indianapolis shows featured an expanded roster of performers, including Blackstreet and Monica.
All four singles from the album reached the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100, two of them reaching number one.
Lead single, "Creep", topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks, and was one of the biggest singles of 1995, coming in at number three in Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Singles of 1995. It also reached number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
The second single, "Red Light Special", peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, and number three on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Third single, "Waterfalls", became TLC's most successful song, spending seven weeks at number one. It was also the second-biggest single of 1995 according to Billboard, giving TLC two songs in the Top 3 of the 1995 Billboard Year-End chart. Internationally, the song reached the top 5 of many countries.
"Diggin' on You" was released as the album's fourth and final single, and reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached number 7 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
The album was met with critical acclaim. In his review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine stated that TLC recorded a "smooth, seductive collection of contemporary soul reminiscent of both Philly soul and Prince", and that the material was "consistently strong". He also referred to "Waterfalls" as "one of the classic R&B songs of the '90s".
In 2010, Rolling Stone listed the album at number 43 on their "100 Greatest Albums of the 90s". They stated: "Left Eye, Chilli and T-Boz looked like a one-shot when they first emerged from the nascent Atlanta with 1992's Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg. But CrazySexyCool was a real shocker, packed bumper to bumper with great songs, sassy vocals and voluptuous beats for burning down the house. "Creep" celebrates the kicks of illicit lust on the down low, "Waterfalls" digs deep into Memphis soul and "If I Was Your Girlfriend" does Prince better than The Artist has all decade. The showstopper: "Red Light Special", an impossibly steamy make-out ballad that undresses and caresses everyone with ears to hear it. CrazySexyCool established TLC as pop pros who could do it all, combining the body slam of hip-hop and the giddy uplift of a jump-rope rhyme without breaking a nail."
The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and spent over two years on the chart. It was the fifth-best selling album in the United States in 1995, and was eventually certified diamond and 11× Platinum by the RIAA, having sold over 8,870,000 copies domestically.[a] Internationally, it reached the Top 5 of many countries. It has sold over 23 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling album by a girl group in the United States and the second best-selling album worldwide by a girl group behind Spice Girls' Spice.
Awards and nominations
CrazySexyCool was nominated for six Grammy Awards at the 1996 Grammy Awards. "Waterfalls" was nominated for the Record of the Year. Two of the album's nominations were for its songwriters: Dallas Austin for "Creep", and Babyface for "Red Light Special". TLC ended up winning two awards, Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "Creep".
|Year||Recipient / Nominated work||Award||Result|
|1996||CrazySexyCool||Best R&B Album||Won|
|"Waterfalls"||Record of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals||Nominated|
|"Creep"||Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals||Won|
|Best R&B Song (nomination for Dallas Austin)||Nominated|
|"Diggin' On You"||Best R&B Song (nomination for Babyface)||Nominated|
TLC also received multiple wins and nominations at the Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards and Soul Train Music Awards, including Artist of the Year at the 1995 Billboard Music Awards. At the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards, TLC won four awards for the video to "Waterfalls", including Video of the Year and the Viewer's Choice Award.
|1.||"Intro-Lude" (featuring Phife Dawg)||Jermaine Mauldin, Malik Taylor||Jermaine Dupri||1:01|
|2.||"Creep"||Dallas Austin||Dallas Austin||4:29|
|3.||"Kick Your Game"||Mauldin, Manuel Seal, Lisa Lopes||Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal^||4:13|
|4.||"Diggin' on You"||Kenneth Edmonds||Babyface||4:14|
|5.||"Case of the Fake People"||Austin||Dallas Austin||4:03|
|6.||"CrazySexyCool (Interlude)"||Tionne Watkins, Sean Combs, Chucky Thompson||Chucky Thompson, Sean "Puffy" Combs^||1:42|
|7.||"Red Light Special"||Edmonds||Babyface||5:02|
|8.||"Waterfalls"||Marqueze Etheridge, Lopes, Rico Wade, Ray Murray, Sleepy Brown||Organized Noize||4:39|
|10.||"Let's Do It Again"||Edmonds, Robinson||Babyface, Jon-John||4:17|
|11.||"If I Was Your Girlfriend"||Prince Nelson||Sean "Puffy" Combs, Chucky Thompson, Dallas Austin^||4:36|
|12.||"Sexy (Interlude)"||Rozonda Thomas||Chucky Thompson, Sean "Puffy" Combs^||1:35|
|13.||"Take Our Time"||Arnold Hennings, Debra Killings||Dallas Austin, Arnold Hennings||4:33|
|14.||"Can I Get a Witness (Interlude)" (featuring Busta Rhymes)||Trevor Smith, Combs, Thompson||Chucky Thompson, Sean "Puffy" Combs^||2:57|
|15.||"Switch"||Mauldin, Seal, Lopes, Joseph Broussard, Carol Washington, Ralph Williams||Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal||3:30|
|16.||"Sumthin' Wicked This Way Comes" (featuring André of OutKast)||André Benjamin, Wade, Murray, Brown, Etheridge, Lopes||Organized Noize||4:28|
- (^) denotes additional producer.
- The single vinyl LP edition omits "Case of the Fake People" and "Intermission-lude".
- "Creep" contains a sample from "Hey Young World" as performed by Slick Rick.
- "Case of the Fake People" contains an interpolation of "Back Stabbers" as performed by The O'Jays.
- "If I was Your Girlfriend" contains cover lyrics and samples from "If I Was Your Girlfriend" as written and performed by Prince.
- "Switch" contains a sample from "Mr. Big Stuff" as performed by Jean Knight.
- "My Secret Enemy" (B-side on the "Red Light Special" single) - 5:34
|Australia (ARIA)||2× Platinum||140,000^|
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||Gold||25,000x|
|Canada (Music Canada)||8× Platinum||800,000^|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||300,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||11× Platinum||8,870,000[a]|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- As of January 2015, CrazySexyCool has sold 7,600,000 copies in the US according to Nielsen SoundScan, with an additional 1,270,000 sold at BMG Music Clubs. Nielsen SoundScan does not count albums sold through clubs like the BMG Music Service, which were significantly popular in the 1990s.
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- Allmusic review
- Robert Christgau review
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- Uncut review
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