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The Revival

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This article is about the Tony! Toni! Toné! album. For the Royce da 5'9" EP, see Street Hop.
The Revival
The Revival.jpg
Studio album by Tony! Toni! Toné!
Released May 8, 1990 (1990-05-08)
Recorded Various recording studios in California
Genre New jack swing, R&B, funk, soul
Length 66:18
Label Wing
Producer Tony! Toni! Toné!, Foster & McElroy
Tony! Toni! Toné! chronology
Who?
(1988)
The Revival
(1990)
Sons of Soul
(1993)
Singles from The Revival
  1. "The Blues"
    Released: March 1990
  2. "Oakland Stroke"
    Released: May 1990
  3. "Feels Good"
    Released: June 15, 1990
  4. "It Never Rains (In Southern California)"
    Released: October 19, 1990
  5. "Whatever You Want"
    Released: February 13, 1991

The Revival is the second studio album by American R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné!, released on May 8, 1990, by Wing Records. It is the follow-up to their modestly successful debut album Who? (1988). The album was produced and arranged primarily by Tony! Toni! Toné!, with additional production by Foster & McElroy, who previously produced Who?. The group recorded The Revival at several studios in California and used a Synclavier music workstation.

A new jack swing album, The Revival features R&B music that draws on funk and older soul influences. Its songs incorporate eccentric sounds and stylistic elements from jazz and hip hop, including improvisational sounds, conversational vocals, and digital samples. The group's lyrics exhibit contemporary hip hop attitudes and traditional soul themes, with songs about unruly women, low-key ballads, and more danceable tracks.

Upon its release, The Revival was well received by music critics, who praised the group's songwriting and appropriation of older sounds with contemporary R&B. It charted for 64 weeks and peaked at number 34 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums. The album was promoted with four singles, including the top 40-hit "It Never Rains (In Southern California)" and the gold-certified "Feels Good". The Revival was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and, according to Nielsen SoundScan, had sold two million copies by 1992.

Background[edit]

The Plant in San Francisco, one of several studios where the album was recorded

The Revival is the follow-up to Tony! Toni! Toné!'s 1988 debut album Who?, which was a modest success for the group and acquainted them with production and songwriting team Foster & McElroy.[1] Originally friends from Oakland, the group moved to Sacramento after finishing Who? with Foster & McElroy and began to record The Revival.[1]

Recording sessions for the album took place at several studios in California—The Plant in San Francisco, Eve-Jims Studio and Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, Can-Am Studio in Tarzana, Live Oak Studio in Berkeley, and J-Jam Studio in Oakland.[2] Tony! Toni! Toné! primarily produced and arranged The Revival, with additional production by Foster & McElroy.[1] The group also worked with engineers Toby Wright and Gerry Brown, musician Keith Crouch, and singer Vanessa Williams, who sang on the song "Oakland Stroke".[3] They recorded the album by using a Synclavier music workstation.[4]

Music and lyrics[edit]

The song has a high dance tempo[5] (118 bpm)[6] and jubilant tone.[7] It is described by one writer as "a statement of the gently crushing rhythm of passion".[8]

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A new jack swing album,[9] The Revival features R&B music with elements from hip hop, funk, jazz, and pop styles.[10] Musically and lyrically, it fuses older soul influences and contemporary hip hop attitudes,[11] along with the latter genre's use of samples and digital rhythm tracks.[12] Funk songs such as "The Blues", "Oakland Stroke", "Let's Have a Good Time", and "Feels Good" incorporate digital production technology.[13] Janine McAdams of Spin finds most of the songs to be "embellished with an allusion, an imitation or an out-and-out sample", and writes that the group draws on "various musical influences—Parliament, Duke Ellington, Pointer Sisters, James Brown, among others." "Let's Have a Good Time" samples the Pointer Sisters' 1973 song "Yes We Can Can", and "Oakland Stroke", a paean to the group's hometown, has "Jungle Boogie"-like horn riffs.[11] The "sardonic" song veers stylistically from hip hop to swing,[10] incorporating a 1940s jazz break.[11]

According to McAdams, Tony! Toni! Toné!'s songwriting on the album eschews "social commentary or political posturing" for "the preservation of R&B's signature, the perpetuation of the soul tradition, and—on the lighter side—the glorification of barbeque, the boogaloo and the booty on a Saturday night."[11] Described by the group as "Baptist shout music that makes you wanna dance", "Feels Good" incorporates a popular sample from James Brown's 1970 song "Funky Drummer" and gospel musical themes.[14] "Don't Talk About Me" is a warning to a mouthy woman,[11] while "The Blues" features the narrator's spiteful complaints about an ungrateful girlfriend.[10] The latter song features aggressive bass, a funky break, doo-wop verses,[11] a blues riff that the group's guitarist D'wayne Wiggins learned from his father, and ideas from pianist Vince Guaraldi's music for Peanuts television specials.[15]

The album's songs also feature offbeat sounds,[10] improvisational elements, and conversational vocals derived from rap.[16] The Revival begins with a directive from a grave voice: "Play this record as frequently as possible, Then, as it becomes easier for you, play the record once a day, or as needed."[11] The album also features dialogue between an old lady who asks the group whether it will be like their last album, on which she was also featured; they respond to her question "No, ma'am". "All the Way" has a scrambling beat, whistle sounds, and the rhythmic call and response "What are we, what are we, what are we? ... Just a bunch of brothers having a party". The end of "Feels Good" features witty jazz keyboard playing behind a lively voice saying "it feels good ... in the hands, feet, bones, heart, and soul".[16] Ed Hogan of Allmusic writes that "the last part sounds like a Sunday morning testimonial."[14]

After its first five songs, The Revival settles into a calmer, more conventional style,[10] with ballads that are more relaxed and low-key.[10] "It Never Rains (In Southern California)" was titled after an oft-repeated phrase from one of Tony! Toni! Toné!'s attorneys, who used it in response to the group wearing heavy coats after returning from visits on the East Coast. Group drummer Timothy Christian played most of the song's instruments, and bassist Raphael Wiggins wrote its lyrics about a man longing for a woman who was in southern California.[17] The ballads are followed by "Those Were the Days", which features jouncing banjo, trumpet, and wistful lyrics reminiscing about simpler times "when a dollar was worth a dollar, and you didn't have to carry a gun when you left your house."[16]

Commercial performance[edit]

Released on May 8, 1990, by Wing Records,[18] The Revival charted for 64 weeks on the Billboard Top Pop Albums, peaking at number 34 on the chart.[19] The album's second single "Feels Good" was released on June 19 and certified gold on November 13 after it had shipped 500,000 copies.[18] The single topped the R&B chart for two weeks and reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 in the fall of 1990, and ultimately sold over one million copies.[14]

In late 1990, the album's fourth single "It Never Rains (In Southern California)" became a number-one R&B hit and also peaked at number 34 on the Hot 100.[17] On January 28, 1991, The Revival was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of one million copies in the United States.[18] By 1992, it had sold two million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan,[20] which began tracking sales data in 1991.[21]

Critical reception[edit]

The Revival was well received by contemporary music critics. Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot it three out of four stars and felt that its "lull" adult contemporary ballads are redeemed by songs with "Sly Stone, Ray Charles, doo-wop and Motown influences", writing that, "Add a dash of loopy humor and you have a terrific '60s-meets-the-'90s recipe".[12] Giving the album an A–, Greg Sandow of Entertainment Weekly commended the group for "build[ing] momentum by adding new elements as the songs proceed" and wrote of their relevance to R&B, "it's artists such as Tony! Toni! Toné! who are setting the course for whatever future the genre is likely to have".[16] Dennis Hunt of the Los Angeles Times gave the album three out of four stars and felt that, although their "offbeat R&B hybrids" are occasionally "too busy and intentionally oddball", "the Tonys' explorations ... are mostly successful".[10]

Orlando Sentinel writer Parry Gettelman gave the album four out of four stars and complimented its "smooth ballads", while noting that its dance-oriented tracks "have great grooves and a warmth, humor and vocal finesse sadly lacking in the Top 40".[22] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave The Revival a two-star honorable mention ((2-star Honorable Mention)),[23] indicating "[a] likable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well enjoy".[24] Christgau cited "Feels Good" and "Oakland Stroke" as highlights and quipped, "who says a love band can't play funk music?".[23] Janine McAdams of Spin commended their songwriting for "transform[ing] the simplest ditties into jammin' anthems that assault the ear and move the feet" and wrote of its musical significance:

Legacy[edit]

In a retrospective review, Yahoo! Music's Scott Wilson dubs The Revival "the breakthrough album that offered a huge string of hits, and assured them their place in the musical hierarchy", adding that "many of these [songs] are instantly recognizable now and the overall quality is great with solid songwriting and self-production".[25] Allmusic editor Alex Henderson gives the album five out of five stars and praises its "organic and soulful" sound.[13] He writes that "Tony! Toni! Toné! managed to appeal to urban contemporary audiences while expressing a love of 1970s soul and funk ... Many of the urban contemporary releases of 1990 were gutless and homogenized, but The Revival is an album that had artistic integrity as well as commercial appeal".[13]

In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Fred Schuers gives the album three out of five stars and asserts that it "proves the group's lyrical cleverness is matched by its musical talent", writing that "The Revival avoids history and humor for improved songwriting and production on dance tracks such as 'Feels Good' and love ballads such as 'Whatever You Want'".[26] Jason Heller of The A.V. Club cites it as the new jack swing genre's "masterpiece ... an artistic triumph in a genre that generally coasted on impeccable craft."[9] While noting the new jack swing style of its hit single "Feels Good", Sam Chennault of Rhapsody feels that "the rest of the album does give a nod to classic Bay Area funk and hints at the subsequent innovations of key member Raphael Saadiq".[27]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Feels Good"   Tim Christian, Carl Wheeler, Dwayne Wiggins, Ray Wiggins Tony! Toni! Toné! 4:56
2. "All the Way"   Christian, Wheeler, D. Wiggins, R. Wiggins Tony! Toni! Toné! 4:26
3. "Oakland Stroke" (featuring Vanessa Williams) Christian, Wheeler, D. Wiggins, R. Wiggins Tony! Toni! Toné! 4:39
4. "The Blues"   Christian, Wheeler, D. Wiggins, R. Wiggins Tony! Toni! Toné! 4:10
5. "Let's Have a Good Time"   Denzil Foster, Thomas McElroy Foster & McElroy 4:01
6. "It Never Rains (In Southern California)"   Christian, Wheeler, D. Wiggins, R. Wiggins Tony! Toni! Toné! 5:00
7. "Whatever You Want"   Christian, Wheeler, D. Wiggins, R. Wiggins Tony! Toni! Toné! 4:48
8. "I Care"   Christian, Wheeler, D. Wiggins, R. Wiggins Tony! Toni! Toné! 5:55
9. "Sky's the Limit"   Christian, Wheeler, D. Wiggins, R. Wiggins Tony! Toni! Toné! 4:35
10. "All My Love"   Christian, Wheeler, D. Wiggins, R. Wiggins Tony! Toni! Toné! 5:58
11. "Don't Talk About Me"   Foster, McElroy, Susan Verdejo Foster & McElroy 4:14
12. "Skin Tight"   Foster, McElroy Foster & McElroy 3:59
13. "Jo-Jo"   Christian, Wheeler, D. Wiggins, R. Wiggins Tony! Toni! Toné! 4:12
14. "Those Were the Days"   Christian, Wheeler, D. Wiggins, R. Wiggins Tony! Toni! Toné! 4:58

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from Allmusic.[3]

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Chart (1990)[19] Peak
position
US Billboard Top Pop Albums 34
US Billboard Top Black Albums 4

Singles[edit]

Year Song Chart Peak
position
1990 "The Blues" US Billboard Hot 100[28] 46
US Billboard Hot Black Singles[28] 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[28] 43
"Oakland Stroke" UK Singles Chart[29] 50
"Feels Good" US Billboard Hot 100[30] 9
US Billboard Hot Black Singles[30] 1
"It Never Rains (In Southern California)" US Billboard Hot R&B Singles[31] 1
1991 UK Singles Chart[29] 69
US Billboard Hot 100[31] 34
"Whatever You Want" US Billboard Hot 100[32] 48
US Billboard Hot R&B Singles[32] 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "From Tonies to Townies - Hot Soul Stars Tony! Toni! Tone! Warm Up for a National Tour in Their Hometown". The Sacramento Bee. November 5, 1993. p. TK14. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Tony Toni Tone - Revival CD Album". CD Universe. Muze. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "The Revival - Tony! Toni! Toné! : Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  4. ^ Bourgoin & LaBlanc 1994, p. 249.
  5. ^ "More Sappy Pap from New Kids". Dayton Daily News: 19. June 15, 1990. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  6. ^ Brusca 2006, p. 511.
  7. ^ Pearson, Mike (July 12, 1990). "Joyous Noise Brings Crowd to Feet at R&B Fest". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Tony! Toni! Tone! turns it up, up, up". Fort Worth Star-Telegram: 11. April 5, 1991. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Heller, Jason (September 30, 2010). "New jack swing". The A.V. Club (Chicago). Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Hunt, Dennis (May 20, 1990). "*** TONY! TONI! TONE! "The Revival" PolyGram". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on June 16, 2011.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h McAdams, Janine (May 1990). "Tony! Toni! Toné!, 'Revival' (Wing/PolyGram)". Spin 6 (2): 73–74. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Kot, Greg (June 14, 1990). "Tony! Toni! Tone! The Revival (Wing)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on June 16, 2011.
  13. ^ a b c Henderson, Alex (August 1, 2003). "The Revival - Tony! Toni! Toné!". Allmusic. Retrieved on June 16, 2011.
  14. ^ a b c Hogan, Ed. "Feels Good - Tony! Toni! Toné!". Allmusic. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  15. ^ Hogan, Ed. "The Blues - Tony! Toni! Toné!". Allmusic. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c d Sandow, Greg (May 11, 1990). "The Revival Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on June 16, 2011.
  17. ^ a b Hogan, Ed. "It Never Rains in Southern California - Tony! Toni! Toné!". Allmusic. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  18. ^ a b c "RIAA Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - Tony! Toni! Tone!". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on June 17, 2011.
  19. ^ a b "The Revival - Tony! Toni! Toné!". Billboard. Retrieved on June 17, 2011.
  20. ^ Nathan, David (July 4, 1992). "R&B Spotlight II: R&B Market Thrives as Majors Stay Hyperactive". Billboard 104 (27): 20. ISSN 0006-2510. QRIEAAAAMBAJ. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  21. ^ Sims, Brian (February 11, 2008). "Get Your Mind Right: Underground Vs. Mainstream". HipHop DX. Cheri Media Group. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  22. ^ Gettelman, Parry (June 22, 1990). "Tony! Toni! Tone!". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved on June 16, 2011.
  23. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (June 1990). "CG: Tony Toni Toné". The Village Voice. Retrieved on June 16, 2011.
  24. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 15, 2000). "CG 90s: Key to Icons". Robert Christgau. Retrieved on June 16, 2011.
  25. ^ Wilson, Scott (May 8, 2000). "Tony! Toni! Toné! Reviews". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011.
  26. ^ Schuers et al. 2004, p. 818.
  27. ^ Chennault, Sam. The Revival by Tony! Toni! Tone! - Rhapsody Music. Rhapsody. Retrieved on June 17, 2011.
  28. ^ a b c "The Blues - Tony! Toni! Toné!". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
  29. ^ a b "TONY! TONI! TONE!". The Official Charts Company. View Singles. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  30. ^ a b "Feels Good - Tony! Toni! Toné!". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
  31. ^ a b "It Never Rains in Southern California - Tony! Toni! Toné!". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
  32. ^ a b "Whatever You Want - Tony! Toni! Toné!". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2012.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]