Our Top 10 Brownstone Songs list looks at a popular group from the 90s. If you are a fan of 90s r&b music, chances are you have heard of Brownstone. They were popular in the 90s. They were on the scene with SWV, Xscape, Boyz II Men, Mary J. Blige, Jade, Montell Jordan, Allure, Total, TLC, as well as other acts that were out during that time. Their biggest single is “If You Love Me.” Their other hits are “Grapevyne,” “5 Miles to Empty,” “Pass the Lovin’” and “I Can’t Tell You Why.” The original members of Brownstone were Nicole “Nicci” Gilbert, Monica “Mimi” Doby and Charmayne Maxena “Maxee” Maxwell. They went through roster changes. Mimi Doby left the group after they recorded their first album together. She said she left for health reasons, but she told reporters that she was having problems with the group.
Brownstone auditioned for Michael Jackson in his studio. After they auditioned, they got signed to MJJ Records. One thing led to another and they released their debut album From the Bottom Up. The album came out in 1995. The album peaked at number four on the r&b and hip-hop charts and number 29 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Pass the Lovin’,” “If You Love Me,” Grapevyne” and “I Can’t Tell You Why.” The album sold over one million copies. “If You Love Me” was one of the most played singles of 1995. Monica “Mimi” Doby left the group after their first cd was released.
Brownstone were riding high on their success even though they had to deal with a roster change. They went back in the studio and recorded their second album. Still Climbing came out in 1997. The group had a new member named Kina Cosper. The album peaked at number 16 on the r&b and hip-hop charts and 51 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “5 Miles to Empty,” “Kiss and Tell” and “In the Game of Love.” Kina Cosper didn’t stay with the group long. She stayed for one album too. The group took a hiatus. They reunited years later, but didn’t record any music. They were working on a reunion album.
Brownstone were successful right out of the gate. They had to compete with other r&b girl groups for listeners, but they stood out among the rest. They are an underrated group who need their flowers. Our Top 10 Brownstone Songs list is a chance to give the group their flowers.
# 10 – Kiss And Tell
The first song on our Top 10 Brownstone Songs list is “Kiss and Tell” from the Still Climbing album. The song has an r&b sound. The cautionary tale is about a woman who wants a relationship, but she doesn’t want him to tell what they do together. She wants to be with him because she’s in love with him. She doesn’t want him to tell his friends about it. She wants him to keep quiet the things they don when they alone. She wants him to tell her what he wants her to do to please him, but he can’t say anything about it. She knows what she wants and she isn’t afraid to be with her man, but she wants him to keep it to himself.
The song has a 90s beat. The drumbeat and keyboards dominate the beat. The beat will have you out of your chair. It’s the type of jam that you can expect to hear at cookouts. You can also blast this jam while you are on a road trip. The group had some success with their debut album so they were riding high. They dealt with a member change for this album. Kina Cosper and Nicci Gilbert take the lead on this track. They work well together. Nicci Gilbert’s big voice definitely makes a statement on the track. She shows off her powerful vocals after the bridge. She wants to be heard on this track and we’re listening.
# 9 – Pass the Lovin’
The next song on our Top 10 Brownstone Songs list is “Pass the Lovin’” from the From the Bottom Up album. This is the first single from the album. The song has an r&b beat. This banger is from the group’s debut album so we get a chance to hear the original trio on the track. The seductive track is about a woman who wants to have sex with someone from the hood. She wants to be with a gangster guy. He needs to be from the ghetto. She wants a guy that she thinks is tough to please her. She doesn’t want to be with a man that she considers “weak.”
The beat has that classic 90s sound. It has a midtempo beat that screams New Jack Swing music. If you listen to this track, you feel like you stepped into a time machine and the year was somewhere in the 90s. You will know instantly that you are listening to a 90s jam. This track gives all of the girls a chance to step up to the microphone. Maxee Maxwell and Mimi Doby get small parts in the song, but they do get a chance to be heard. You might blink and miss them, but they do get a chance to do something in the song. They provide ad libs and runs in the song.
Mimi Doby does a nice run toward the end of the song. She sings the run over the chorus. Nicci Gilbert sings the majority of the song. She also tries her hand at rapping. She has decent rhyming skills. She shouldn’t switch to a rapper, but she doesn’t embarrass herself on the track.
# 8 – Revenge
The vengeful song is from the album Still Climbing. The song has an r&b beat. The payback track is to a guy who played her. The song is self-explanatory. She wants to make her boyfriend pay for cheating on her with another woman. She warns him that he messed with her for the last time. She promises him that she will get revenge. She sets up the scenario and explains what she witnessed. She walked in a room and watched him with another woman. She refuses to go through that again. This is an anthem for anyone who had to deal with infidelity and wanted to get revenge. You might find yourself nodding your head while the group discusses getting revenge on someone.
This is the type of song where the group shines. They sing midtempo songs well, but they shine their best on ballads. This banger is a ballad with some tempo added. The music is fits the theme of anger. The track has tempo so that keeps it from being depressing. The song gives Nicci Gilbert a chance to show off her pipes. She belts throughout the song. The only thing missing from the song was a long note. She held back on the song. She built up the song as if she were going to reach for the long note, but she chose not to go there. Here is a fun fact about the song. Boyz II Men member Shawn Stockman co-wrote this song.
# 7 –Around You
The eye-opening song is from the album Still Climbing. The track has an r&b sound. The bitter song might have you thinking that it’s a love song. The song is about a woman who can’t be around a man. She wanted her man to stay with her, but that quickly changed. He treated her badly and she’s had enough. He kept trying to play games with her. He had his chance to treat her right, but he chose not to do it. She refuses to be around him and let him hurt her. This is the type of song you can listen to with the shades down and a drink in your hand. If you have been through this type of heartache, the lyrics will resonate with you.
The music on this track is beautiful. The music matches the theme of the song brilliantly. It will have you in your feelings while you listen to the song. The beat is soft and pretty. The music is just enough to allow the ladies to shine on the song. The music sounds like something Diane Warren would have written for artists. The melody is similar to Xscape’s song “The Arms of the One Who Loves You.”
The song sounds like something Xscape would have recorded. Maxee Maxwell sounds similar to LaTosha Scott from Xscape. Maxee Maxwell and Nicci Gilbert sound amazing on this song. Their voices blended really well together. They give each other room to shine on this track without dominating each other. Their harmonies are excellent on this track. Here is a fun fact about this song. Singer and songwriter Robin Thicke wrote this song. This song wasn’t released as a single, but it should have been because it’s flawless.
# 6 – Grapevyne
The breakup song is from the album From the Bottom Up. The song has an r&b beat. This is the third single from the album. The bittersweet song is about a woman who finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her. If you have heard of the expression “I heard it through the grapevine,” then you understand this song. She heard rumors that he was cheating on her. She didn’t want to believe that he was cheating on her. She did everything for her man only for him to break her heart. She warns him that he shouldn’t have done something that would come back to haunt him because he was going to lose her.
The beat is mellow and it will give you time to soak in the music. The beat is a blend of r&b and jazz music. The song has the makings of a quiet storm staple. If you listen to r&b radio, you can still hear this jam on there. The music will never get old. The girls sound like they are taking you to church with their vocals. They sound like a choir as they are singing together. Mimi Moby and Nicci Gilbert take turns singing lead on this track. Nicci Gilbert does power notes in the song that shouldn’t be missed.
She sounds similar to Kelly Price when she holds notes. Mimi Moby belts in the song. The music is better suited for Mimi Moby’s tone of voice, but they both sound incredible on the song. Their harmonies are excellent on this song. Their voices are stacked so well that they sound like one person in the background. The song made it to number six on the r&b and hip-hop charts and that does not surprise us.
# 5 – 5 Miles to Empty
The next song on our Top 10 Brownstone Songs list is “5 Miles to Empty” from the album. The song has an r&b beat. This is the first song from the album. The yearning song is about a woman who wants a man to do her right. She’s tired of men lying to her and not treating her the way she deserves to be treated. She needs a good man to love her. She wants him to prove his love for her. People are assuming they won’t last. If they don’t try to make it work and prove them wrong, they won’t last. The title is a metaphor to describe how much time she has before she’s ready to give up on love. She doesn’t think she has enough love left in her heart to be hurt again.
This song introduced the listeners to Brownstone’s new sound. They switched things up on the Still Climbing to create a more mature sound. This track was the perfect way to introduce their sound to the audience. Brownstone sings sleek and soulful ballads that will make you think. Maxee Maxwell opens the track. She shows what she can do on this track. She has a soprano tone that was perfect for the beat. Nicci Gilbert takes the place as the anchor on the track. She belts once she gets started. She holds notes and gets the party started vocally. She has beautiful runs in the song.
# 4 – I Can’t Tell You Why
The somber song is from the album From the Bottom Up. The song has an r&b beat. The soulful song is about a rocky relationship. The couple argues continuously to a point where they feel as if they’re going to break up. They don’t know why they want to stay with each other. She lets him know that she can’t live without him. She can’t understand why they are trying to ruin their relationship when they promised to love each other forever. She informs him that she will always love him. She tries to walk away from him, but something always stops her from going.
Brownstone covered The Eagles’ song. The song was a Top 10 hit for the Eagles so Brownstone took a chance covering this song. They stuck with the theme of the track. The music is different from The Eagles’ version of it. Brownstone’s version is r&b friendly. The Eagles’ version is blue-eyed soul and rock music. Brownstone made the song their own without making you forget the original version. Brownstone sang the song with soul and passion. They sang the track as if they wrote it themselves. Their vocals are fabulous. They don’t hold any big power notes, but they do attempt to belt which was all the song needed. Their harmonies are excellent as usual. Their voices were made to sing together.
# 3 – If You Play Your Cards Right
The reflective song is from the album Still Climbing. The song has an r&b beat. The hopeful song is about someone doing the right things in order to get what you want. They insist if you “play your cards right,” you will get her love. The woman assures him that her love is guaranteed if he does what he’s supposed to do. She wants him to do the right thing. She will stay loyal to him if he does what he’s supposed to do to make her happy. He won’t have to hide his feelings for her because she will give him her love. If he expresses how he feels about her, she will be his forever. If you’re with someone who is afraid to express their feelings for you, it will be a great idea to play this song.
Alicia Myers originally recorded the track. They did an excellent cover of her song. Brownstone’s version basically sticks to the original version of the track. The music for Brownstone’s version sounds updated, but other than that it stays true to the original. Brownstone’s version has a drumbeat in it that’s not featured in the original song. Kina Cosper does a fantastic job covering this track. She sounds similar to Alicia Myers. She performs runs and holds notes that aren’t in the original. You may not forget Alicia Myers’ version, but they did a fantastic job on their version of the song.
# 2 – In the Game of Love
The playful song is from the album Still Climbing and The First Wives’ Club Soundtrack. The track has an r&b beat. The informative song is about love being a game. They don’t know if they are going to be together or not. She doesn’t want to play games anymore. She wants to make a commitment. She talks about making a decision whether you win the game of love or you lose the game. She insists that he has to take a chance on love even if you don’t win. She feels that love is worth the risk even if you get hurt.
The music is touching and romantic. It’s the perfect track to play if you want to spend time with that special someone in your life. This is the type of beat that will have you in the bedroom with your special someone. This is baby making music. This type of music will always remain classic. The song could still be played on Quiet Storm radio. Nicci Gilbert opens the song. She gets the track off to a great start. She sings the song with soul. Kina Cosper takes over the rest of the track with Maxee Maxwell singing over her in the bridge. Their voices are breathtaking. You will be amazed at how beautiful their voices are. We can’t express enough how beautiful their voices are when they harmonize.
# 1 – If You Love Me
The number one song on our Top 10 Brownstone Songs list is “If You Love Me.” The track is on the album From the Bottom Up. The song has an r&b. The in-your-face jam is about letting someone know they have to prove their love. If you love them, you have to show them. Actions always speak louder than words. The song is self-explanatory. She wants her man to prove that he loves her. He tells her how he feels, but he needs to show her that he cares. This is the second song from the album. This is the song that helped introduce r&b fans to the group. The song was popular on r&b radio when it was released.
This song has a 90s sound. The harmony is similar to SWV’s “I’m So Into You.” If you are a fan of r&b music, you have heard this track before. This song was on the radio a lot during the height of their fame. No one could sit still while this song was playing. The music is infectious. Brownstone’s vocals are outstanding on this track. Nicci Gilbert and Maxee Maxwell go back and forth with their vocals. They were having a battle and the winners were the fans. We got the chance to hear the divas belting throughout the song. The song is an earworm that will stay in your head long after it is done. The track peaked at number two on the r&b and hip-hop charts and number eight on the Hot 100 charts. The song sold over 500,000 copies.
Top 10 Brownstone Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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