In 1985 New Edition released their 3rd album, ALL FOR LOVE. Featuring several of the same songwriters and producers as the previous album, and pretty much sticks to that formula. No new ground is broken here, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The most notable fact about this album is that in-between the time it was recorded and the time it was released, Bobby Brown left (or was kicked out, depending on whom you listen to), so although his picture is on the cover and he performs on all but one of the songs, he doesn’t appear in any of the music videos nor was on the accompanying tour to promote this album (dubbed the All FOUR Love tour, to signify the group becoming a quartet). The album produced three singles.
COUNT ME OUT is basically the sequel to Cool It Now (which was the sequel to Candy Girl). Same type of song with an uptempo pop beat. Ralph sings leads about how his friends don’t approve of his relationship with his girlfriend, and it includes a back and forth rap verse during the break. I always loved this song.
WITH YOU ALL THE WAY is a power ballad, in the mold of Lost In Love from the previous album. Ralph’s falsetto voice shines through in the lead.
A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE (IS ALL IT TAKES) is a midtempo track with Ralph back in the lead, although Ricky’s voice is prominent in the background. Another songs that I always enjoyed.
The remaining 8 songs include a 2nd ballad, WHISPERS IN BED, which is good but not quite as strong as With You All the Way. LET’S BE FRIENDS, a midtemp track with Ricky singing the lead. WHO DO YOU TRUST, another midtempo track, this time with Bobby in the lead, was another favorite of mine. KICKBACK and the title track ALL FOR LOVE are standard uptempo tracks, like Count Me Out, but with Ricky and Bobby singing as co-leads with Ralph. SWEET THING and TONIGHT’S YOUR NIGHT are two midtempo tracks that mix pop and R&B, and both are strong enough to have been singles, in my opinion. Rounding out the album is the requisite rap song SCHOOL. Bobby isn’t on this one, it’s just Ralph, Ricky, Ronnie, and Michael, who all wrote this song together, about the importance of getting an education.
As I said, no new ground is broken here, this album came out a year after the previous album, and all of the songs on this one, could have been on that one. And that’s pretty good. But I do feel some opportunities were missed here. I do believe that Bobby Brown should have been utilized more, given more leads (the lack of this is one of the reasons sited for Brown’s departure), and also I think that the boys’ rudimentary writing talent should have been cultivated, and given them the chance to write and produce more. These things could have helped make this VERY GOOD album a GREAT album.