Let’s be honest. Nineties R&B remains one of the only genres in music where, “Oh, girl! That’s my song,” is said compulsively without a trace of irony. But while three- to five-part harmonies reigned supreme back in the day, so did bitter fallings out between members and labels. Even TLC was touched by group conflict before the unexpected death of their beloved bandmate Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. But through the loss, remaining members T-Boz and Chilli stuck it out to the tune of 20 years as their latest compilation album suggests. Meanwhile the shelf life for most groups born in that glorious era was over before you could say 1999. We count down the ones that devastated us and our tape decks most.
As we continue to enjoy TLC Week here at VH1, we can help but get sucked by into the ’90s, when R&B was at its finest. From the early years of new jack swing to the house style that took over in the mid ’90s, the undercurrent of neo soul and the futuristic pop sounds that closed out the decade. But most importantly, ’90s R&B was the decade of the girl group. TLC was one of several groups that blew up nearly 20 years ago, helping to shape the music of our childhood. Everyone one from 702 to Brownstone and Jade to Xscape gave us something to remember.
Fifteen years ago, Spice Girls released their first single in the UK and set the pop world ablaze with a sassy little tune called “Wannabe” that introduced the duel concepts of Girl Power and zig-a-zig-ahhhhh. Eventually hitting #1 in thirty countries across the world, Spices Scary, Ginger, Posh, Sporty and Baby parlayed the “Wannabe” phenomenon into fame and fortune, selling twenty-three million copies of their debut album Spice and seizing the throne for the best-selling girl group in history.
Because we’re sentimental when it comes to all things pop culture, other fave ?lady jams started flooding our memory bank and got us thinking that, well, sometimes they can get a bit raunchy. However, to us, that’s the beauty of girl groups: They balance with one foot on the empowerment soapbox, and the other foot on the soapbox that reads “gimme some.” Maybe we have it all wrong, but?this list of ten anthems that say “come hither” all while commanding some R-E-S-P-E-C-T will bring you back in time and get you set for a (hopefully) spicy week.
10. Dream, ?He Loves U Not?
Puffy’s Bad Boy girl group?pre-Danity Kane was sort of flop-ish, but their single wasn’t! And while the lyric “he’s into what he’s got” might be somewhat tame, it serves it’s purpose to give off a “there’s more where that came from” warning to ladies trying to steal their men.
9. Destiny?s Child, ?Lose My Breath?
“Put it on me deep in the right direction,” demands Kelly Rowland in this uptempo Destiny’s Child track. Serving as both an aphrodisiac and a challenge, the entire song begs the question of the ladies’ male suitors: “Can you keep up?”