Fanmail Review

TLC's third effort, Fanmail starts out with a nice intro. The track is actually a song but it sets up the album nicely. As the title track, "Fanmail" describes how the album is going to be about how the girls of TLC can relate to everything their fans write to them about. As a song on its own, it's an okay number though it gets a little over the top and is far too long.

After an interlude, the album gets underway with the awful "Silly Ho". The song is boring and really annoying. It's tedious and in truth, I really can't think of anything redeeming about it. It just keeps going on and on and is easy to skip.

"Whispering Playa," the album's second interlude is just an exchange between the girls and a guy who is trying to get with them. Likely playing on this concept, the interlude is followed by the track "No Scrubs" which was a mega hit in its day. The song's success is understandable as the song is infectiously catchy and moves along nicely. Unfortunately, the track gets very repetitive and as such, is pretty disappointing. Still, the song is an enjoyable listen.

Despite the uptempo pace, "I'm Good At Being Bad" is a bit unexpected. The track starts out nice and slow with some beautiful vocals. Don't get too comfortable though as the song quickly changes pace with the girls jumping into a hard uptempo number. The song is catchy though it is a little too liberal with its explicit lines and use of terms like nigga and bitch. Still, it's an entertaining listen even though it's really only a few verses matched up.

"If They Knew" is disappointing in a similar manner to "Silly Ho." The track is repetitive and just not very enjoyable. Again, an easily skipped track.

Returning to that slow sound heard at the start of "I'm Good At Being Bad," the eighth track on the album, "I Miss You So Much" shows a different direction on the album. Chili handles the lead vocals and shows the strong divide on the album. Half of the album seems raunchy or rebellious with a pounding up-tempo beat and an in-your-face delivery. The other half of the album is laced with ballads like this. Interestingly enough, it seems that when it comes to doing ballads, the work is pushed onto Chili, though that's not a bad thing as she's most capable for handling them. Her sound is smooth and the song can really grab you at times. A nice listen and a different change of pace for the girls.

For all I rag on TLC, they have always carried a positive message (despite tracks like "A Bitch Like Me"...). With early tracks like "Waterfalls" advising against drugs and unprotected sex, the group's Fanmail features "Unpretty," a track about inner beauty. The song says that until you can convince yourself that your pretty, other people will be able to walk all over you and ruin your self-esteem. The song is lovely though it gets a bit repetitive. If you've never seen it, the video is definitely worth checking out as it only further adds to the song.

Following "Unpretty" is a bit of a letdown with "My Life." The song has pleasant vocals but doesn't have much else to it. In the song, the girls state that they don't care what you think about them so they're gonna do whatever they want to do. Okay, heard that one before, it's nothing interesting or anything anyone particularly cares about. Next track.

"Shout" is an entertaining up-tempo song that really runs about quickly. The song has some decent vocals and is an alright listen. Still, nothing incredible.

"Come On Down" is a refreshing track with interesting country vibes. The song is an entertaining listen with some really smooth deliveries. It's not the best song but it is enjoyable and definitely delivers over many tracks on the album.

The thirteenth track on the album, "Dear Lie," is a clever number in which the girls address a lie they made. The song has the girls telling the lie to go away as it has only made things worse for them. The song's constant mention of the lie's balls is a little weird but is still a pretty track. Overall, its a well-written and nicely delivered number.

Nearing the album's completion, "Lovesick" is a track full of wasted potential. The lyrics on the song are really tight but there is no real energy in the vocals. In addition, the beat is quite possibly the most annoying sound ever. It sounds like its supposed to be the dialing of a phone but the sound is aggravating and detracts from the delivery.

Similarly, "Automatic" is an enjoyable song that starts pretty good and loses its steam in the repetitive and boring second half. Despite this, it's still not a bad song... it just never grabs your attention.

Finishing the album, "Don't Pull Out On Me Yet," is a nice song with a chorus that works well. The song's flow is pretty solid and the track has nice lyrics. The vocals are alright but best of all, the song seems to finally show some emotion. A nice conclusion to the album.

tl;dr: Fanmail is a mixed bag with some really great songs and some major let downs. Overall, it's a pretty good effort with some songs that are definitely not worth missing.