It could be argued that New Edition, top-to-bottom, is the most talented “boy band” of all-time even toping the Jackson 5. Now hear us out, we’re talking overall talent. No one can touch Michael Jackson no doubt but when you look at New Edition, even when they disbanded, every member released a platinum selling single and/or album. EVERY member. So for this week in our #CultureClassics series we’re featuring one of their signature songs and videos, the throwback R&B joint “If It Isn’t Love“.
“If It Isn’t Love” dropped in 1988 and was the first single off their fifth album, Heart Break. The song immediately became a hit reaching the top ten of the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number seven, and reached the second spot on the Hot Black Singles chart (yeah that was the name of the chart back in ’88). It went on to garner the group’s first Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in ’89.
And of course there’s the famous music video. One of the big deals about this project as a whole was that it was the introduction of singer Johnny Gill as the new member of the group after Bobby Brown was infamously kicked out. The video showcased the group (and real-life manager Brooke Payne) going over rehearsal for a show as they struggle with a new member and to get their swagger back. Blood sweat, tears, and a catchy track written and produced by producing legends Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis bring the group together till they get it right. The video is simple and straight forward but is a classic through and through helping cement New Edition as legendary creators for The Culture.
#FunFact: As we mentioned earlier, If It Isn’t Love was a top 10 hit on two charts peeking at #2 on the R&B singles side. Who beat them for #1? The man they voted out of the group, Bobby Brown with his (also classic) solo hit “Don’t Be Cruel“.
If you enjoyed that look at a throwback R&B classic. Check out more of our #CultureClassics:
- “Thriller” by Michale Jackson
- “I Used to Love H.E.R.” by Common
- “They Reminisce Over” You by Pete Rock & CL Smooth
Written by @TalentedMrFord