Admit it, you like C.M.B., the debut album from Bryan, Kevin, Mark and Sam – collectively known as Color Me Badd. It’s really okay to say this out loud now, no one will mock you. Okay, we will mock you but I’m in your camp. Two decades after its release, C.M.B. still sounds as cheesy as the day it came out and that’s perfectly fine with me. There has never been a point where I was a hater. Sure, I don’t know if I ever believed this crew singing “I Wanna Sex You Up” or any other new jack swing tune on the record but it’s hard to hate the disc when it reminds me a lot of one of my favorite records, (in fact, the last one I looked at for this series) Cooleyhighharmony by Boyz II Men.
Now sure, Boyz II Men were much more believable singing this type of music but there’s also so many similarities that at points it’s hard to tell the two records apart. And honestly, I didn’t notice this in full until I listened to the records back-to-back. Listen to “I Adore Mi Amor” and try to picture Nate, Mike, Shawn and Wanya singing it. Very easy, ain’t it? And Boyz II Men recorded Spanish versions of their songs for the re-release of their debut as well so it’s even more of a match and “Heartbreaker” has the same new jack swing groove that the first half of Cooleyhighharmony had.
Now of course the albums aren’t exactly the same as C.M.B. tends to have more of a pop feel in the end thanks to songs like “Slow Motion” and “All 4 Love.” Speaking of the latter, it went to #1 on the Hot 100, the second in a row after “I Adore Mi Amor,” and to me still stands up as one of the most fantastic R&B flavored pop songs of all time. I’m not joking about that either. Even today, I can sing that tune word for word and will dance around like a goddamn fool every time I hear it. Fortunately for my dignity, no one actually plays the song any longer so in order for me to make an idiot of myself, I have to pop the disc on voluntarily.
The disc produced a whopping six singles including “Thinking Back” which includes the guys singing “Uh-Uh Oh” at appropriate sensual moments, not terribly different from the Boyz’s “Uhh Ahh.” I also didn’t know that they released the song “Color Me Badd,” the only really shitty song on the disc and the requisite tune calling out their own name repeatedly that was so common in the early ’90s. Kind of weird for the introduction song to be near the end of the disc but in reality it didn’t belong anywhere but the bottom of a trash heap. Take that tune out of the mix though and I still enjoy the disc at least as much as I did back in ’91. It’s dated to that period for sure, but even after a ten year break from listening to it, it still triggers the same reaction for me, so it hasn’t lost any of the little appeal it had to begin with.
“All 4 Love”