Love Always

Love Always Review

Upon the break up of the group Jodeci, members and brothers K-Ci and JoJo Hailey released their debut album Love Always together. The album sold millions, in large part due to the smash hit single "All My Life." Was this success justified? How does the album stand as a whole?

The album begins with the, for all intents and purposes, title track. While the title isn't in the song name, "Last Night's Letter" gets things off on the right foot with smooth vocals, and reinforces the implications of the albums title as being a love letter. The track introduces you to the two vocalists, highlighting K-Ci's rougher sound to JoJo's silky smooth.

The next two tracks carry the same message but in a very different manner. "Baby Come Back" is a fierce uptempo track with strong vocals. The singers are wishing their lover would come back to them after they chased her away. Unfortunately, the song is a bit longwinded, playing the chorus over and over in the end. "Just For Your Love" has a similar message of wishing for a lover back but in a much different fashion. The song is slowed down and is incredibly sweet.

"Now and Forever" keeps up the silky smooth feeling with a nice loving message. The singers explain that they won't listen to other people's ill feelings about their lover as they know she's wonderful. The song is an incredible love song and has some great lines. One such piece was when JoJo sings "You see you can tell a tree of love/ By the fruit that it bears/ And from where I'm standing/ You see my field is yielding."

The album returns to high tempo with two decent tracks. It's clear the group is better at the ballads but nevertheless, they manage okay with the uptempo songs. "Don't Rush" is an interesting role reverser as the guys complain about a female friend who badgers them for sex. It paints a neat story and is catchy but just doesn't compare with the slower songs. "Bring Me Up" falls in a similar boat as the guys complain about a lover who used and abused their love. It's catchy and a pleasant listen but just seems to be missing something the slower songs have.

The next song "Still Waiting" is a throwback to Jodeci days, as the song opens with DeVante and is produced by him. The song has a GREAT beginning with K-Ci and JoJo alternating couplets. However, about two minutes in, the track falls from its position as one of the best on the album by repeating the chorus 6 times in a row. It would have been nice to just make the track short than to drag it out.

After the back and forth style of "Still Waiting," the next three tracks on the album are solo pieces. "Love Ballad" is K-Ci's offering and frankly, it's disappointing. Don't get me wrong, the lyrics are great. However, the song is a cover track and it is clear. K-Ci seems to lack all feeling as he just reads the lyrics from the sheet.

JoJo's solo offerings start on a disappointing note as well. "How Many Times," like K-Ci's piece, is a beautiful track with some great lyrics. However, it sounds uninspiring. Without K-Ci's enthusiasm, the track is lifeless. This seems to be recognized as about halfway through, K-Ci appears just to shout and emphasize lines.

It's JoJo's second solo, that stands out as an incredible track and is what most people recognize the album for. "All My Life" is executed perfectly in every manner. The song opens with a beautiful violin piece and then a simple, yet similarly moving piano piece. When the lyrics start, they are on point and rich in emotion. The song works wonders and conveys the feelings of love.

After such a strong piece, the group fortunately, continues with another solid song and ends the album on a high (albeit sad) note. "How Could You" is just as powerful as "All My Life" only evoking tears instead of smiles. The track is about losing a lover and sitting alone waiting for the day they might come back. The track is well done and the lyrics are strong. A great way to end a solid album.

tl;dr: While it's a shame that Jodeci went on permanent hiatus in large part, as a result of this album, it's understandable why. Track for track, this is a classic album that should be owned by every fan of the genre.