Soon after recording the albums ALL FOR LOVE and CHRISTMAS ALL OVER THE WORLD, Bobby Brown left/was kicked out of New Edition. He signed a deal with MCA Records as a solo act, and released his debut solo album KING OF STAGE in 1986. It was primarily produced by Cameo frontman Larry Blackmon, and most of the songs reflect his R&B/Funk sound. It’s a short album, just 9 songs, but that’s pretty standard for albums at the time. The two singles from this album, the ballad GIRLFRIEND and up-tempo song GIRL NEXT DOOR are both very good, and could have easily fit in on the earlier New Edition albums. There’s also a fast song called LOVE OBSESSION which I like. But, other than that, there isn’t much for me to recommend on this album.
There’s another ballad, SPENDING TIME, which falls flat. And BABY I WANNA TELL YOU SOMETHING has him doing a mix of rapping and singing, which just doesn’t work. He mostly raps on the title track KING OF STAGE and, while he does have some moderate rap skills, this isn’t his best stuff. The remaining tracks, YOU AIN’T BEEN LOVED RIGHT, SEVENTEEN, and YOUR TENDER ROMANCE are all interchangeable fast R&B songs that you could dance to in a club, but nothing stands out. It was clear from the beginning of New Edition that Bobby had undeniable talent, but this album definitely didn’t show it.