Music fans that were already alive in the 90s can likely tell you all about TLC, one of the biggest girl groups of the decade. Unfortunately, the life of one of TLC’s member’s was cut short when Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was killed in a car accident on April 25, 2002. 7 months later, remaining members T-Boz and Chilli released the record they had been working on titled 3D, which was their 5th studio album. Afterwards, TLC disappeared from the scene, only releasing greatest hits compilations every few years. However, TLC began to work on new music in 2013, recruiting many hit singer-songwriters to aid them, including Lady Gaga, who wrote the song “Posh Life” for their upcoming fifth album (although it would end up not being included on the record). After a KickStarter campaign to raise money for the album (which became the most successful campaign in the website’s history, even garnering donations from celebrities such as Katy Perry and Wendy Williams) and multiple delays, TLC have finally released their fifth album, which happens to be a self titled album.
This is their first album to not include any contributions from Left Eye due to her unfortunate death, but her work with TLC does not go unnoticed as the album’s opener, “No Introduction,” references past hits of theirs such as “Creep”, “No Scrubs”, and “Waterfalls”. The intro is a sassy number that lets us know that TLC is back and ready to dominate. “Way Back”, one of the first singles from the album, is a sweet and bouncy track that reminisces on the friendship between the girls in the most fun way possible, proving that friendship is a timeless concept. “Haters”, another single, is a self love anthem that finds the girls telling you to just be yourself, cause no matter what, “haters gonna hate.”
The follow up track, “Perfect Girls,” is another number about being yourself. TLC reminds us here that perfection isn’t a real concept, and that we all should love ourselves, including our flaws. The girls get political on “American Gold,” as they sing about racial injustice. T-Boz and Chilli have fought through the fires as they’ve made their names known in the industry despite the racism and sexism. The uplifting tunes continue on “Scandalous”, a club ready anthem about not always being a good girl (or boy). TLC knows how to have a good time, and they know you do too! The album wraps up with “Joy Ride,” a soulful track with banging drums where the girls find themselves looking back on the past and looking forward to the future, because when you have the people that matter beside you, life is a beautiful joy ride.
Overall, TLC managed to make a triumphant return after a 15 year hiatus that deserves the utmost recognition. Left Eye is highly missed on this album as her charming personality and epic raps always made TLC’s songs that much catchier, but the record is such a great follow up to their first 4 that it’s a sure fact that Left Eye would have loved this one, and would have fit in perfectly on it.
(8 / 10)