Our Top 10 New Edition Songs list takes a look at one of r&b’s popular boy bands. They became famous in the 80s with classic songs such as “Candy Girl,” “Cool It Now” and “Mr. Telephone Man” just to name a few. Before there was New Kids On The Block, Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Dru Hill, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, 98 Degrees, One Direction, and BTS, there was New Edition. New Edition has sold over 20 million records during their career. Let’s take a look at this popular group.
New Edition consisted of original members Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Ronnie DeVoe and Mike Bivins. They were inspired by The Jackson 5 and wanted to be singers. They performed at a talent contest in 1982 held by producer Maurice Starr. They didn’t win first prize, but Starr wanted to sign them because he was impressed with their performance. He wanted to make them the next Jackson 5. Starr wanted Ralph Tresvant to sing lead because he sounded so much like Michael Jackson.
In 1983, the group released their first album titled Candy Girl. The style of the album was r&b and pop. The album peaked at number 90 on the Billboard 200 charts and number 14 on the r&b charts. The album was an instant hit for the group. It features the classic singles “Candy Girl,” Is This the End,” “Jealous Girl” and “Popcorn Love.” The group dealt with an obstacle because they accused Starr of stealing their money from the sales of their debut album and tour. They parted ways with him shortly after that.
They released their eponymous album in 1984. This was their first album without manager/producer Maurice Starr. They didn’t hit the sophomore slump with this project. The album peaked at number one on the r&b charts and number six on the Billboard 200 charts. The project features the hit singles “Cool It Now,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” “My Secret (Didja Gitit Yet?)” and “Lost in Love.” The album sold over two million copies.
New Edition released their next album All for love in 1985. This is the last album the group released that featured member Bobby Brown. We’ll get to that in a bit. The album peaked at number 32 on the Billboard 200 charts and number 13 on the r&b charts. It features the hit singles “Count Me Out,” “A Little Bit of Love (Is All It Takes)” and “With You All the Way.” The album sold over one million copies. Bobby Brown became angry over the style of music the group sang. He wanted to do something different. He wanted to have his turn in the spotlight. Unfortunately, the label wanted Tresvant to continue to sing lead. Brown would take over lead vocals while Tresvant was singing. He also performed sexual acts while the other members were dancing. He was trying his best to get the spotlight on himself. Tension grew among the band mates, which led to Brown being fired from the group. They promoted the album as a quartet.
The group didn’t let that obstacle stop them from continuing to work together. They released Under the Blue Moon in 1986. The album peaked at number 43 on the Billboard 200 charts and number 18 on the r&b charts. The project consisted of cover songs. The album features the singles “Earth Angel,” “Duke of Earl,” “(Hey There) Lonely Girl,” “Tears on My Pillow,” “Blue Moon” and “Since I Don’t Have You.” The album sold over 500,000 copies.
There were rumors that Tresvant was looking to go solo in 1987. Bell, Bivins and DeVoe decided to vote singer Johnny Gill into the group in case Tresvant left. Tresvant ended up staying with the group after all. They released Heart Break in 1988. This album was a coming of age type of project for them. They wanted a more mature sound so they recruited Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to work on the project with them. The album peaked at number 12 on the Billboard 200 charts and number three on the r&b charts. The album features the singles “If It Isn’t Love,” “You’re Not My Kind of Girl,” “Can You Stand the Rain,” “Crucial” and “N. E. Heartbreak.” The album sold more than two million copies.
After Bobby Brown had success as a solo artist, New Edition decided to go on a break to pursue solo projects. They all had at least one successful solo album before getting back together. In 1996, they decided to get back together to record another album. This album would feature Bobby Brown as well as the rest of the group. Home Again was released in 1996. The album was number one on the Billboard 200 charts and the r&b charts. This was their highest peaking album. The album sold 441,000 copies in its first week. It features the singles “Hit Me Off,” “I’m Still in Love with You,” “You Don’t Have to Worry,” “Something About You” and “One More Day.” The album sold more than two million copies.
Unfortunately, the reunion didn’t last long. They went on a reunion tour and it didn’t go well for the group. Their personalities clashed throughout the tour. Brown and DeVoe ended up getting into a fight backstage. Brown left the group once again. They released One Love in 2004. It peaked at number 12 on the Billboard 200 charts and number four on the r&b charts. The albums sold 244,000 copies in its first week. The project features the single “Hot 2Nite.” The album sold over 500,000. Most of the group wasn’t happy with this project and it caused friction. The group broke up once again.
New Edition reunited in 2015 to work on their miniseries. It was a story about their lives as part of the group. The movie came out in 2017. The movie was a hit with their fans. They went on tours together to promote the movie and it looked like they were going to last. Unfortunately, personal issues got in the way again and they broke up again.
New Edition paved the way for other boy bands to be successful. They had their share of ups and downs, but the music always spoke for itself. They always want to please their fans and put out great music. The group has quite a few hits so compiling this list was a challenge. It was hard to narrow this list down to 10 songs when they have so many great songs that could have made this list. This Top 10 New Edition Songs list will feature some of their best songs.
# 10 – Is This the End
The first song on our Top 10 New Edition Songs list is the impressive “Is This the End” from the Candy Girl album. The track has an r&b sound. The music is soft and romantic despite being a song about heartbreak. The laid back track is about a guy questioning whether or not a relationship is over. It’s hard to believe that this song is on New Edition’s debut album. They sound like they have been singing together for years. Ralph Tresvant was a teenager when he sang this song.
He sounds wise beyond his years. He also sounds like Michael Jackson. He pours his heart out as he talks about the breakup of his relationship. He sounds convincing even though he’s singing at a young age. He has the incredible ability to show deep emotion in the song. His tenor vocals are fire. His voice blends well with the music. Ricky Bell sings the bridge of the song. His baritone vocals were a good contrast to Tresvant’s tenor vocals. The rest of New Edition do an excellent job with the harmonies in the background.
# 9 – Popcorn Love
The next song on our Top 10 New Edition Songs list is the uniquely titled “Popcorn Love” from the Candy Girl album. The track has a bubble gum pop and r&b sound. The kid friendly love song is about kids falling in love for the first time. The song is appropriate for the group because they were kids when they recorded it. In the 80s, this was considered the best way of expressing how you felt about someone you liked. The music is bouncy and energetic. There’s no way to sit still through it. The music is a little dated, but it’s perfect for its time. Most of New Edition’s songs only feature one or two vocalists, but this one gave all of the members a chance to sing lead. It was nice to hear all of the members singing the song. The song has a catchy hook that will stay in your head for a long time. They sing in time with the beat and they harmonize very well.
# 8 – If It Isn’t Love
The perplexing track is from the Heart Break album. The song has an r&b and New Jack Swing sound. This is an infectious song about a man who left a bad relationship because he didn’t want to be in love only to find out that he was in love after all. He is still troubled by the fact that he broke up with the girl that he loved. He questions why he feels the way he does about someone he thought he didn’t love. This song was one of the tracks that helped them transition from teens to adulthood. T
hey tackled more mature songs on the album. “If It Isn’t Love” is the biggest hit off of the album. This is an indicator of how hard it was to compile this list. It could have easily been number one. The music has that classic Jam and Lewis feel to it. The musical arrangement is excellent and perfect for dancing. The keys and the drums are the main focus of the music. Ralph Tresvant does a tremendous job singing lead. He makes you feel as if he’s torn between letting the woman he loves go and wanting her back in his life. He sounds more mature than he did on their previous songs. He makes you want to sing along with him. This song is flawless.
# 7 – A Little Bit of Love (Is All It Takes)
This drama – filled song is from the All for Love album. The track has an r&b and pop sound to it. This is an indecisive song is about a girl who wants to be with a guy, but has a funny way of showing. She plays games with him and he wants her to admit to the way she feels about him. This is a mature song for the group. New Edition was still singing bubble gum pop during the time this song was released so this was a good change for them. The mid tempo beat is enough to get you moving. The keyboard and the drums drive the beat. The music is a little dated, but it’s perfect for the 80s. The melody sounds similar to Stephanie Mills’ “You’re Puttin’ a Rush On Me.” Tresvant’s voice sounds pure. He sounds enjoyable and it’s easy to listen to him sing all day long. He could sing the alphabet and make it sound good. The chorus is infectious and easy to sing.
# 6 – I’m Still in Love with You
The sincere song is from the Home Again album. It has an r&b and pop beat. This is an introspective song about a guy who is pleading for forgiveness and wants to convince the woman he loves that he is the same person. He doesn’t want anyone to take his place despite him taking her for granted. This is another gem by Jam and Lewis. They knew the right formula to create the perfect sound for New Edition. They reunited with the writing team for their reunion album and it paid off.
This is one of their last hits as a six-member group. Tresvant and Bell sing lead on this track. They do vocal battles with each other and it pays off beautifully. They sing their verses one after the other and they do it effortlessly. Tresvant does take a little step back and allows Bell to soar towards the end of the song. Bell doesn’t get too many chances to show what he could do vocally so it was nice to hear. They both win the vocal battle. New Edition were on point with their harmonies in this song. They proved they are one of the best in the game when it concerns harmonizing. This song is perfect if you are in a romantic mood.
# 5 – Candy Girl
The next song on our Top 10 New Edition Songs list is the sweet “Candy Girl” from the album of the same name. It has an r&b and pop beat. The playful song is about a girl being described as being sweet as candy. Here is some trivia about the song. “Candy Girl” was inspired by The Jackson 5’s “ABC.” It’s not surprising because the song sounds very similar to it. New Edition were between 13 and 15 when they recorded this track so it was age appropriate for them. The energetic beat was perfect for this type of song. You are hooked as soon as you hear the first couple of bars of the music. Ralph Tresvant’s vocals are outstanding. He sounds just like Michael Jackson when he sang “ABC.” If you close your eyes, you could forget that Tresvant isn’t Jackson. His vocals are absolutely flawless and you could get lost listening to him. The rest of the group have small parts in the song as well. They do name checking in the song after the bridge.
# 4 – Cool It Now
This bouncy song is from their eponymous album. The track has a post-disco beat. This liberating song is about a guy who loves a girl despite how his friends feel about the relationship. He wants to be with her against all odds. He refuses to let his friends stand in the way of his true love. It’s easy to see why this was the first single from their album. It’s a great way to introduce the world to this spectacular album. The energetic beat will grab the listener instantly. As soon as you hear the first couple of notes, you know exactly what you are about to hear. You are about to hear a masterpiece. It’s not a surprise that this song’s one of the group’s biggest hits.
Tresvant’s vocals are superb. He sounds like a young Michael Jackson on this track. He showed versatility on the song. Bivins and DeVoe are the ones who rap on their songs, but he chose to do it on this track. He was able to rap along with them. He created the famous name check line that makes the song memorable to this day. “Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike if I love a girl who cares who you like” became a classic line for the song.
# 3 – Lost in Love
The infatuated song is from their eponymous album. The song has an r&b and pop sound to it. This is a captivating love ballad about a guy being in love with a girl. The smooth and romantic song will send chills up and down your spine. It’s hard to believe that teenagers recorded this romantic song. The music is smooth and melodic and is perfect for slow dancing. You don’t have to be in love to appreciate this song. Tresvant’s voice is absolutely flawless. He sings the song with a lot of passion.
He sings with such intensity that you are captivated by his amazing vocals. You can forget he’s a teenager because he sounds mature. Bell makes an appearance towards the end of the song. He holds a pretty good note towards the fade out of the song. It’s too bad he didn’t hold it a little sooner so the listener could really enjoy it. They harmonize beautifully in the background. They really shine when they sing the chorus together.
# 2 – Mr. Telephone Man
This heartbreaking song is from their eponymous album. The song has an r&b and bubble gum pop beat. The anthemic song is about a conversation with a telephone operator. The boy can’t believe that his girlfriend hung up on him. He believes that something is wrong with the phone. Here is some trivia about the song. Ray Parker Jr. wanted Bobby Brown to sing lead on the track. He felt that Brown’s voice was better suited for the song. Brown does get his chance to sing lead, but he sings the chorus of the song. Ricky, Mike and Ralph appear in the song too.
The music sounds similar to Ray Parker Jr.’s “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do).” It has a funky beat that is different from their other tracks. The mid tempo music will have you moving in your seat. The music suited Brown’s voice even though Tresvant could have pulled it off as well. Tresvant managed to hold a little note just before the chorus. Brown belts the memorable chorus. The chorus is so infectious and the best part of the song. This song is perfect and it could have been the number one song on our list if it weren’t for the one that we picked.
# 1 – Can You Stand the Rain
The number one song on our Top 10 New Edition Songs list is the metaphoric “Can You Stand the Rain” from the Heart Break album. This song has an r&b, pop and soul beat. This smooth song is about a relationship that is going well. He wants to know if he can rely on her through thick and thin. Everything about this song works. The music is romantic and beautiful. It features the sound of rain falling in the background of the music.
This is one of the songs that introduced Johnny Gill as a member of New Edition. Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant and Ricky Bell sing lead on the track. Gill’s deep baritone voice was the perfect contrast to Tresvant’s tenor vocals. Gill proved that you don’t have to be a tenor to hold notes. He vocalized in the beginning of the song and towards the end. He sang in a higher key when he vocalized and sounded perfect. Tresvant sounds amazing as usual on this song. Bell’s role in the song is small, but he does a good job. This song became one of their signature songs. It has been covered many times, but none of the covers compare to the flawless original version. It was a very hard choice, but this song deserves the top spot on our list.
Top 10 New Edition Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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