In 1984, New Edition released their 2nd album, simply titled NEW EDITION. By now they had dropped their previous management and record label and were signed to major label, MCA Records. This time they had a larger group of songwriters and producers who were able to provide the boys with a wider-range of material, although it was still dominated by adolescent themes. The album featured 10 songs.
1/COOL IT NOW the lead single, a worthy successor to their debut single, Candy Girl, and the song that is probably the one they are 2nd-most identified with, after all these years. Ralph sings lead about how his friends think he is moving too fast with his new relationship. Michael and Ronnie provide raps halfway through, which becomes a trademark of there, as they were primarily background singers.
2/MR. TELEPHONE MAN was the 2nd single, written and produced by Ray Parker Jr., giving the group a more mature sound. Ralph sang lead with Bobby taking over in the chorus. A clever little ditty, about a guy who’s girlfriend ignores his phone calls, so he assumes there must be something wrong with the phone, because he doesn’t want to face the obvious truth ( as Michael says “Please operator, see what you can do/I dialed the right number, but I still can’t get through/Can you please check the line one more time if you can?/I’m pretty sure her phone wouldn’t be answered by no man…”)
3/I’M LEAVING YOU AGAIN is a slow jam that is most notable for the fact that it was written by Ralph and Ricky, who also sing co-lead. The lyrics and melody are rather simple (“Girl I wish, that there was a way, for you and I to stay together, forever and a day“), but still impressive given the boys young ages at the time (they would have 15-16).
4/BABY LOVE is a mid-tempo song about remembering a first love who has moved on in her life. I always loved this one.
5/DELICIOUS another mid-tempo song, never released as a single, but also one of my favorites.
6/MY SECRET (DIDJA GET IT YET?) This uptempo song was the 5th and final single released from this album. I remember it was most notable for its music video featuring Magic Johnson.
7/HIDE AND SEEK is one of my favorite album cuts from the group. An uptempo song with Bobby singing lead about a girl who plays hard to get. This definitely should have been a single.
8/LOST IN LOVE has Ralph back in the lead for this power ballad, that seems specifically written to be played at Junior High and High School dances. It was the 3rd single released from the album, and a big hit.
9/KINDA GIRLS WE LIKE is the requisite rap song that New Edition would include one of on most of their early albums. This one was written and produced by the group themselves, and has each one rapping about the kind of girls he likes. As rapppers, none of the boys were giving Run-DMC a run for their money, if you catch my drift (“Hey girls don’t hesitate, if you want me, I’ll be your playmate”). But still it’s a fun song, with a good dance beat, and even a guitar solo. This was released as the 4th single from the album.
10/MARYANNE closes out the album, a mid-temp track that kind of use 70’s R&B feel to it. This could have been song by the Temptations of the Commodores. Ralph and Bobby sing co-leads on this song.
Listening to this album again, I’m a little surprised at how well it holds up, even after all these years. There’s not a weak song in the bunch. A great complete album. GRADE: