Bell Biv DeVoe


Bell Biv DeVoe - Poison ©1990 MCA
1. Dope!
2. B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)?
3. Let Me Know Something?!
4. Do Me!
5. Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph, And Johnny (Word To The Mutha)!
6. Poison.
7. Ain't Nut'in' Changed!
8. When Will I See You Smile Again?
9. I Do Need You.
10. Poison. (Extended Club Version)

Horrid. Simply horrid. "Make it stop," my roommate said.

Reviewing this is like being Mark McGwire on a 'roid rage, facing down a Little League pitcher who threw an intentional beanball for his first pitch and is now serving a meatball across home plate. In other words, just too damn easy a target.

Track one, "Dope!" As in "I'm a dope for buying this."

Track three, "Let Me Know Something?!" OK...this stinks.

Track eight, "When Will I See You Smile Again?" When this damn album is over.

Enough with the easy insults; on with the real review. Featuring the three least talented members of New Edition - Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe - Poison, the debut album of the eponymously titled group Bell Biv DeVoe, was inexplicably popular with the hip-hop crowd back in '90, when it first saw the light of day. And it hasn't aged well. Using punctuation marks in every song title is, alone, worth time in the penalty box. The backing music of tracks 1-7 wanted to live in Funkytown but the limo crashed and burned in the Land of Repetitive Cheese; tracks eight and nine are stereotypical, bass-heavy, schmaltzy, high-school slow-dance fodder. "Canned" is an apt description for all of it. Regarding the vocals...although BBD are decent singers, this doesn't mean that they can rap; they lack that ineffable quality called "flow." Jeez, their delivery is awkward. Who the hell wears Swatch watches anymore? You're date-stamping yourselves, boys...

And what the hell does "Our music is mentally hip-hop, smoothed out on the R&B tip with a pop feel appeal to it," mean, anyway? If the hysterical (unintentionally, one can only assume) photographs in the liner notes of Bell, Bivins, and DeVoe dressed in "Mental," "Hip-Hop," "Smoothed Out," and "R&B Tip" outfits are any indication, it has something to do with fashion. But why put this puzzling manifesto on the cover? Let's not discuss the inclusion of "rising stars" New Kids On The Block in the thank-you list, either...

The lone bright spots in the parade of wretchedness are the chorus to "Do Me!" - "You can do me in the morning, you can do me in the night..."; it's actually pretty catchy and cool, plus it has some personal resonance because a girl I liked in high school often wore a Do Me! shirt - and the hit title track, which isn't worth much on its own merits but is another one of those neato trips down memory lane. Avoid the "Extended Club Remix," though. Blah.

There isn't much any reason to have a copy of this disc other than nostalgia. That and the cheese factor. If you buy it and pay more than $1.99, you are a track one.

Review by Jonathan Arnett

Review date: 02/2001

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