EV3 is the third studio album by American female vocal group En Vogue. It was released by East West Records on June 17, 1997 in the United States. Recorded after a lengthy break during which the band members became mothers or established solo careers, the album was En Vogue's first project to incllude a diverse roster of collaborators including credits from Babyface, David Foster, Diane Warren, Andrea Martin, Ivan Matias, and Organized Noize along with regular contributors Foster & McElroy. It marked their first album without founding member Dawn Robinson, who decided to leave the group late into the recording of EV3 in favor of a solo recording contract, prompting the remaining trio to re-record much of the material for the album.
Upon its release, EV3 received mixed reviews from critics, many of whom praised the band's vocal performances but were critical with overall production of the album. In the US, the album debuted at number eight on both Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and the Billboard 200 with sales of 76,500 units, the band's highest first-week numbers. Internationally, EV3 entered the top forty on most charts it appeared on and remains En Vogue highest-charting effort to date. Certified Platinum by the RIAA and Silver the BPI, the album produced three pop and R&B hit singles, including "Don't Let Go (Love)", "Whatever" and "Too Gone, Too Long".
In 1992, En Vogue released their second studio album Funky Divas (1992). A major success, it sold 3.5 million copies worldwide and generated three top ten singles. Following extensive touring in support of the album, the quartet started what would became a longer hiatus. While band members Cindy Herron and Maxine Jones went on maternity leave, Terry Ellis reteamed with regular En Vogue contributors Foster & McElroy to work on her solo album Southern Gal which was released to lackluster success in November 1995. In the meantime, En Vogue lent their vocals to the collaborative single "Freedom (Theme from Panther)" (1995) and recorded "Don't Let Go (Love)" for the soundtrack to the motion picture Set It Off (1996). Released in the autumn, it became the group's biggest hit yet, selling over 1.8 million copies worldwide and becoming certified platinum by the RIAA.
In response to the large commercial success of "Don't Let Go (Love)", the group steadfastly went to work on its third studio album. Originally called Friendship, it marked En Vogue's first project that was not fully produced by McElroy and Foster, with additional production coming from Babyface, Andrea Martin, David Foster, Diane Warren, and Ivan Matias to provide the group with a new modern sound. As the album was nearing completion, Dawn Robinson chose to leave the group in April 1997 for a solo recording contract with Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records after difficult contractual negotiations reached a stalemate. Her abrupt departure from En Vogue forced the remaining trio to re-record several of her original lead vocals; however, not every track was re-recorded, with Robinson's leads remaining intact on several tracks and her background vocals still appearing on every song with the exception of "Does Anybody Hear Me". The track "Let It Flow" reuses the main riff of the 1977 hit single "Slide" by funk band Slave.
Ann Powers, writing for Spin, felt that the album "follows the groove laid down by the group's creators, Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy, expressing female prowess in terms of lovesexy seductiveness, socially conscious righteousness, and ail-that independent attitude." Complimenting En Vogue's "flawless form;" she concluded that "like an acrobatic Jordan jam with a minute left in the fourth quarter, EV3 elicits a familiar, gleeful wonder at humanity's potential." In her review for Newsweek, Allison Samuels wrote that EV3 "has all the right ingredients." Los Angeles Times writer Connie Johnson felt Dawn Robinson's presence on her final work with the group was "an integral part of the womanly, more mature stance of this album." She ranked Diane Warren–penned "Too Gone, Too Long" among the album's highlights, calling it a "performance upon which musical reps are truly built".
Opposed to this, Stephen Leo Stanley from AllMusic found that Dawn Robinson's departure left the album unaffected since "the group's harmonies remain remarkably supple and soulful". While he considered EV3 full of "enough strong moments", he was critical of the band's decision to work with Warren and regular producer David Foster and their adult contemporary sound on "Too Gone, Too Long". Chicago Tribune editor Monica Eng commented that EV3 found the band dabbling "in an array of genres, trying to find their new voice", with uneven results. Entertainment Weekly's J.D. Considine noted that EV3 unlined the group's status as a "producer’s pets", citing that on EV3 "no surprise, then, that although the women get top billing, the arrangements are the real stars." In his Consumer Guide, Robert Christgau gave the album a "B-" rating.
In the United States, EV3 debuted at number eight on both the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and the Billboard 200 in the issue dated July 5, 1997. Selling approximately 76,500 copies in its first week of release, the album marked the band's highest debut on both charts as well as their biggest first week sales yet. On August 26, 1997, EV3 was awarded platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), indicating sales in excess of 1.0 million copies. Elsewhere, the album entered the top forty on most charts it appeared on. EV3 reached top ten in Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom where it remains the band's only top ten album to date.
EV3 spawned three hit singles. Lead single, "Don't Let Go (Love)", was a worldwide hit and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The single sold 1.3 million copies in the United States and was certified platinum by the RIAA. The second single, "Whatever" peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 8 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The single was certified gold by the RIAA after sales of over 500,000 copies. "Too Gone, Too Long", the album's final single released, was a top 40 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 at number 33 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at number 25.
||"I've Got Your Gun"
- Denzil Foster
- Thomas McElroy
- Denzil Foster
- Thomas McElroy
||"It's About Love"
- T. Ellis
- C. Herron
- M. Jones
- D. Robinson
- I. Matias
- James Gass
- Brion James
- Ivan Matias
- Andrea Martin
||"Keep Your Money"
- ^[A] denotes co-producer
- ^[B] denotes vocal producer
Credits and personnel
- Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones – lead vocals, backing vocals
- Dawn Robinson – lead vocals, backing vocals
- Denzil Foster, Thomas McElroy – music arranger, backing vocals
- James Earley – electric guitar, bass
- Thomas McElroy, Denzil Foster – keyboard, drum machine
- Norbet Stachel – saxophone
- Garry Barnes – bass
- Bernard Grobeman – guitar
- Marlon McClain – electric guitar, acoustic guitar
- Chanz – grand piano
- Babyface – synthesizer, electric piano, drum programming
- Kevin Wyatt, Nate Phillips – bass guitar
- Giuliano Franco – synthesizer, drum programming
- Lil John – drums
- Preston Crump – bass
- Martin Terry, Tommy Martin – guitar
- Mark Coleman – electric guitar
- Bill Ortiz – trumpet
- Ken Kessie – mixering
- Steve Counter – engineering
- Organized Noize – production
- Jason Eckl – guitar
- Neal H. Pogue – mixing
- Dennis Bolden – organ, programming
- Andrea Martin – production
- James Gass – programming
- JAH – rap vocals
- Chris Bolden, Ivan Matias – production
- Rudy Haeusermann – engineering
- David Foster – keyboards, production
- Dean Parks – acoustic guitar
- Blake Eisenman – engineering
- Michael Thompson – electric guitar
- Felipe Elgueta – engineering
- Adrion Sinclair – programming
- Pro-Jay – programming, production
- Cindy Herron, Terry Ellis, Maxine Jones – vocal arrangement
- Denzil Foster, Thomas McElroy – production, arrangement and composition
- Sylvia Rhone – executive production
- En Vogue – executive production
- ^ a b c d e f g "Holding On". Vibe. 1997-10-01. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
- ^ Eng, Monica. "Review: EV3". Chicago Tribune: 7. June 10, 1997.
- ^ a b Stanley, Stephen Leo. EV3 at AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
- ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide Reviews". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
- ^ a b Eng, Monica (1997-06-20). "En Vogue EV3 (East/West)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
- ^ a b Considine, J.D. (1997-06-20). "Review: EV3 - En Vogue". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
- ^ a b c Los Angeles Times. Music: En Vogue's "EV3". Johnson, Connie. June 15, 1997
- ^ a b Samuels, Allison (1997-06-22). "And Then There Were Three..." Newsweek. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
- ^ Gardner, Eylsa (1997-06-24). "Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
- ^ a b Powers, Ann (1998-08-01). "Records". YouKnowIGotSoul.com. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
- ^ EN VOGUE - AS A THREESOME - CHARTS NEW VOCAL GROUND. The State News
- ^ a b c Faison, Datu (1997-07-05). "Rhythm Section". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
- ^ a b "American album certifications – En Vogue – EV3". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 8, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
- ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1996". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 109 (3): 61. January 18, 1997. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
- ^ US Singles Certifications > En Vogue. RIAA
- ^ "Australiancharts.com – En Vogue – EV 3". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "Austriancharts.at – En Vogue – EV 3" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "Ultratop.be – En Vogue – EV 3" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 3250". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – En Vogue – EV 3" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "En Vogue: EV3" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "Lescharts.com – En Vogue – EV 3". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – En Vogue – EV 3" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "Charts.org.nz – En Vogue – EV 3". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – En Vogue – EV 3". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
- ^ "Swedishcharts.com – En Vogue – EV 3". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "Swisscharts.com – En Vogue – EV 3". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "En Vogue | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "Official R&B Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
- ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts – 1997" (in German). Offizielle Deutsche Charts. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
- ^ "Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 1997". Billboard. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
- ^ "British album certifications – En Vogue – EV3". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved February 8, 2018. Enter EV3 in the search field and then press Enter.