K-Ci & Jo Jo
It has been a very long time since Jo Jo, Devonté, K-Ci, and the other guy set the R&B world on fire with their electro-R&B-post-funk-hip-hop sound with incendiary, grimy vocals that lit a light under your libido. And it definitely feels like it when listening to Emotional. In all fairness, after Diary of a Mad Band, every R&B artist bit their sound, consumed them whole, shat them out, and moved on to the next fad. So by the time their third album, The Show, the After-Party, the Hotel, hit, Jodeci was something everybody wanted to scrape off their shoes.
Much to K-Ci and Jo Jo’s determination, the Hailey brothers have etched out a decent career from the waste. However, their edge has been dulled by over-exposure and age. Emotional is a fairly adequate disc — but totally disposable (though “I Don’t Want” is pleasant enough). The production is your usual, rap/pop/R&B synthesis that floods the airwaves. Since most R&B artists have forgotten how to sing, the Haileys’ false vibrato ululations are quite commonplace and just torturous, and their ubiquitous, soulful histrionics sound less like the lovelorn than the victims of the Bataan death march. As they scream of the tortures of love, you can picture the bamboo splints being shoved underneath their fingernails. And, soon, you just want the misery to end.