Return of the Tender Lover

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Return of the Tender Lover
Return of the Tender Lover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 4, 2015 (2015-12-04)
Brandon's Way Recording
Los Angeles, California
GenreR&B, Pop
LabelDef Jam
ProducerBabyface (also exec.), Daryl Simmons
Babyface chronology
Love, Marriage & Divorce
Return of the Tender Lover
Singles from Return of the Tender Lover
  1. "We've Got Love"
    Released: August 4, 2015[1]
  2. "Exceptional"
    Released: November 27, 2015[2]

Return of the Tender Lover is the eighth studio album from American R&B singer Babyface. It was released December 4, 2015, on Def Jam Recordings.[3] The album pays homage to his classic 1989 album, Tender Lover and serves as the follow-up to his last album Grown & Sexy (2005). It is his first solo album of new studio material in 10 years.

While its lyrics focus mainly on themes of romance, perseverance and devotion, Return of the Tender Lover incorporates pop-soul love songs as well as elements of old-school R&B that evokes some his earlier work. As a result, the album received generally positive reviews from critics who praised the album's production, songwriting and direction.

"We've Got Love" was released as the album's lead single on August 4, 2015.[4] Return of The Tender Lover is the singer's first solo album since Playlist (2007), and his first consisting of only original material since Grown & Sexy (2005).[5]


Following the release of his collaborative album with Toni Braxton, Love, Marriage & Divorce (2014) which was a commercial success, Babyface finished Return of The Tender Lover with Daryl Simmons and Kameron Glasper. Babyface said of the process: "It was an organic thing where the songs came fast — I didn’t want to do too many songs, just an old-school album, eight songs, and just make sure they’re eight good ones". Babyface has called the album "Unapologetic R&B" and said: "It doesn’t have to be the kind of hi-hats or kick or 808s [sound]. It’s just going to be a real drummer, bass player, guitar player, piano player. It’s going to feel real good based off of musicianship."[6]


Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[8]
The Boston GlobeB-[9]
Consequence of Sound3/5 stars[10]
The Guardian3/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[12]

Return of the Tender Lover received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 76, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13] Andy Kellman of AllMusic gave the album four stars out of five, calling it "smooth, all about romance, devotion and perseverance" while adding that it's "among Babyface's best".[14] Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe gave the album a B-, stating that "Babyface remains polished yet funky...", realizing that he "can't compete with the obsessive bedpost-rattling Ty Dolla Signs and The Weeknds of the world". He goes on to add that he "proclaims his love for women for who they are, instead of what they can do for him".[9]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, the album debuted at number 39 on the Billboard 200 with 19,000 first-week sales.[15]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks produced by Babyface; except "I Want You" produced by Babyface and Daryl Simmons.

1."We've Got Love"Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Daryl Simmons, Kameron Glasper4:49
2."Fight for Love"Edmonds, Simmons4:58
3."Exceptional"Edmonds, Simmons, Glasper5:40
4."Walking on Air" (featuring El DeBarge)Edmonds, Simmons3:54
5."I Want You" (featuring After 7)Edmonds, Simmons4:21
6."Love and Devotion"Edmonds, Simmons3:43
7."Standing Ovation"Edmonds, Simmons4:45
8."Something Bout You"Edmonds, Simmons, Glasper5:58
9."Our Love"Edmonds, Simmons, Glasper4:37
Total length:42:41


Chart (2015-16) Peak
US Billboard 200[16] 39
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[17] 5


Credits adapted from liner notes.[18]

  • Babyface - vocals, writer, producer, keyboards, executive producer, guitar, background vocals, drum programming, A&R
  • Tony Russell - bass
  • Demonte Posey - Hammond B3 organ
  • Andre Delano - saxophone
  • Daryl Simmons - writer, producer
  • Kameron Glasper - writer, background vocals
  • Richie Pena - drums
  • Walter Barnes - bass
  • Brandon Coleman - Wurlitzer
  • After 7 - vocals, background vocals
  • El DeBarge - vocals, background vocals
  • Michael Ripoll - guitar
  • Greg Phillinganes - piano
  • Lemar Carter - drums
  • Nathan East - bass
  • Paul Boutin -recording, mixing, percussion
  • Herb Powers, Jr. - mastering
  • Randee St. Nicholas - photography
  • Kyledidthis - Art direction, design


  1. ^ "We've Got Love | Babyface – Télécharger et écouter l'album". 2015-11-24. Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  2. ^ "Exceptional | Babyface – Télécharger et écouter l'album". 2015-11-24. Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  3. ^ Andrew Asare (2015-10-15). "Babyface Announces Date For 'Return of the Tender Lover' Album". Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  4. ^ Andrew Asare (2015-08-13). "Babyface Debuts New Single & Lyric Video "We've Got Love"". Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  5. ^ Rose, Dana (2015-09-15). "Babyface announces new album, 'Return of the Tender Lover'". Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  6. ^ "Babyface Talks The Weeknd, Binge-Watching TV and the 'Honesty' of his New Album". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  7. ^ "Return of the Tender Lover Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-12-04.
  8. ^ Andy Kellman. "Return of the Tender Lover - Babyface; Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-12-04.
  9. ^ a b Ken Capobianco (2015-12-03). "Album review: Babyface, 'Return of the Tender Lover'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  10. ^ "Album Review: Babyface – Return of the Tender Lover". Consequence of Sound. 2015-12-10. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
  11. ^ Simpson, Dave. Review: Return of the Tender Lover. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2015-12-12.
  12. ^ Turner, David (December 22, 2015). "Babyface: Return of the Tender Lover". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  13. ^ Return of the Tender Lover Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2015-12-07.
  14. ^ Andy Kellman (2015-12-04). "Return of the Tender Lover - Babyface | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  15. ^ Keith Caulfield (2015-12-17). "Michael Buble's 'Christmas' Is Now His Biggest-Selling Album: Billboard 200 Chart Moves". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  16. ^ "Babyface Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Babyface Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard.
  18. ^ Babyface - Return Of The Tender Lover (CD liner notes). Def Jam Recordings. B0023939-02