Lets Get Remarried.
Liars! Jagged Edge said they couldn’t “take another heartbreak”, but here they are again. It’s time to renew the vows with the ‘Lets Get Married’ hit-men because this really is a remarkable remix. Following naming their last release after a track off their greatest album and Grammy winning ‘Jagged Little Thrill’ (‘The Remedy’), the boys from the ATL go one better, getting back in the studio with hit Usher and Mariah Carey producer Jermaine Dupri for something truly ‘So, So Def’. In this ‘Blueprint’ age of sequel albums in rap and R&B trying to reestablish a buzz, the band of brothers Jagged Edge, (who have nothing to do with a 1985, Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close Oscar winning movie) return in classic black and white, hallmark, nostalgia with ‘J.E. Heartbreak 2’, complete with ‘Remedy’ reminiscing ‘Jagged Little’ motorcycle jackets. The sequel L.P. to a multi-platinum, classic album from the salad days that laced us with ‘Promises’ and the ‘Keys To The Range’. An album that gave J.E. the keys to the game along with fellow Atlanta, Georgia quartet, 112. A new album that follows classics like ‘A Jagged Era’ and ‘Hard’. An album that also begins with actor and singer Tyrese Gibson talking about the state of R&B being “insecure” to camera flashing, Notorious ‘To Live And Die In L.A.’ B.I.G. style sampling openings. Tyrese and his Ginuwine and Tank, TGT supergroup may have come together and successfully brought real R&B back, but this Chris Brown, “ain’t loyal” club age that is a long way from the magic of Motown misses Teddy Riley guys like Blackstreet and the Boyz to Men like J.E. who bridged this gap to the modern day mainstream of urban music. With ‘Heartbreak 2’ the heartbeat is back too. And the beat goes on…
14 years after the original, this eighth wonder of an album from the four is a personal, passion project from producer Jermaine Dupri and this labour of love is the product of R&B’s heart and soul. Serving as a twin to its first album, just like brothers Bryan and Brandon Casey and their Quick and Wingo partners this ‘Heartbreak’ is now double decadence at its beautiful ballad finest. The first album may have been foremost with tracks like ‘Did She Say’, ‘He Cant Love You’, ‘What Ya Tryin’ To Do’ and ‘Girl Is Mine’ featuring Ja Rule, but the follow up is still formidable thanks to the fantastic fours songs and the hit making of Dupri and songwriter Bryan Michael-Cox. After offering us ‘Hope’ with the inspiration of their influence in the form of a buzz single and a black and white set of promo photos like their piano cover of the original-but taken to an airstrip-these boys are practically and literally taking off. As they sing “Hope she sees all this love that I’m filled with/All I wanna do is/Come up with this little plan/Put her hope back in a man” it’s clear they are on the right flightplan. After a traditional ‘J.E. Intro’ comes ‘Future’, a perfect opener that engages itself with ‘Lets Get Married’ and makes a vow for the rest of the album and lives. The guys then get ‘Familiar’ with the clubs, as the ‘Dance Floor’ kings cut a rug in celebration to one of their greatest album achievements. Things get even realer on deeper on ‘Things I Do For You’ a characteristic devotion and ‘Love Comes Down’ which rises towards these power players peak.
The relationship between men and women that have been the foundation of this group, genre and even globe continues on the candle holding revelation ‘It’s Been You’ that’s hot like fire and the ode to every Juliett, ‘Romeo’ that can be found singing up to the balcony from the backyard. Singing “I wanna be your superman in everything you know” they soar with heroic, poetic lyrics like, “Like a wave on a summer day heat/Beauty cant describe/The things that I see”. Where art thou? Where you at? These boys are back after the June-bug buzz that just seemed all too like a mid-Summers night dream. Their fans wishes have come true this fall however. Still it’s not all peaches and cream for the only group out of the urban music scene in Atlanta (see Ludacris, T.I. and more kings of the south) that can hold room with 112. On ‘Getting Over You’ the boys move to the break-up ballad, lamenting a lost love that will stay with them for the rest of their lives like that one that got away for better or worse. Then the real ‘Ready’ is the remedy for raw tears. This all come to a crestfallen crescendo of classic couplets with the cool closers ‘Make It Clear’ and the confirmed ‘No Half-Steppin” as these Jagged boys get their Big Daddy Kane on as these smooth operators set it off with another victory. Time to throw the confetti and get this album ready for the favourites catalogue to have and to hold. R&B isn’t dearly departed yet. So long as the ‘Lets Get Married’ heartbreakers are in harmonious matrimony with music. The definitive act of last decade may not be getting any younger but they’re still doing it. So meet them at the altar in your white dress because they have more wedding songs for you and yours. Award proof, you think this is dedicated enough for another walk down the aisle? I do! TIM DAVID HARVEY.