by Kiesha Easley
As New Edition celebrates 30 years, I can’t help but reflect on the good times that those songs bring to mind. There aren’t many groups that I can honestly say I grew up with – I literally grew up listening to their music. I watched them grow and change as I did over those same years. This group (and its associated members) has produced songs that make up a collective soundtrack that accompanied each era of my life. I’ve got a memory for just about every song!
A few seconds into any song on their Greatest Hits CD suddenly invoke vivid memories of fun-filled summers spent with friends, dancing non-stop for hours, wearing ripped jeans, bright colors and biker shorts.
My kids laughed when I showed them some of my favorite New Edition videos – especially “Cool it Now” and “NE Heartbreak.” Of course, that style and time is foreign to them, but for me, those videos were reflective of the way life unfolded for me.
I was about five or six when “Candy Girl” came out. Those days in the 80s were innocent and fun. Even to this day, when I hear that song, I’m instantly transported to that year’s elementary school talent show. A group of pop-lockers performed and blew everybody’s mind with impossible moves!
I remember staying up late with cousins, lip-syncing “Mr. Telephone” man – we’d get yelled at for keeping the phone off the hook for too long – those were the days when you’d get a “busy signal” instead of voicemail because having two-way calling was un-heard of!
A few years later, as I became a pre-teen, my cousins and I could be found practicing the choreography from the “If It Isn’t Love” video. We’d dance all day in front of the television – we had to rewind that video hundreds of times. We practiced with intensity as if there was some special prize awaiting. Then we’d put on our bright colors and would swap shoes so that we each had on one black shoe and one white shoe. No one could tell us we weren’t dope (yes, “dope” as in utterly amazing!) – boy, were we silly!
When the group broke apart, we all asked, “Is this the End?” (only real NE fans remember this song!) But then Bobby Brown came with Don’t Be Cruel – I think I played that cassette until it broke and wore the T-shirt from his concert until the ink peeled off!
Then Bell, Biv, Devoe hit us with “Poison” and all anybody had to do was hear those first few beats of that song, and it was on – instant party! On the smoother, more romantic side, Ralph Tresvant’s “Sensitivity” always reminded me of long drives along the beach – it instantly put me in chill-mode and still does to this very day.
I have my favorites (that I’ve listed below), but I wanted to hear what other people thought. I posed the question on Facebook: What’s your all-time favorite New Edition song – and why?
Tyra McFadden (ML writer) said, “If it Isn’t Love,” because she loved the choreography. Another friend said, “Mr. Telephone Man,” because, in his opinion, it was the last good song they made. Yet another friend said, “Can You Stand the Rain,” because she’s a hopeless romantic. Crystal Sunshine Williams said, “Candy Girl,” because it’s a song about true love. The “Hit Me Off” video is my personal favorite because it was a rare showcasing of all six members – including Bobby Brown and Johnny Gill.
Watch the video here:
Which song(s) or videos would you add?
My Top Ten NE (and related artist) songs
I couldn’t possibly put my Top 10 NE songs in any order, it was hard enough narrowing it down to ten, but each one of these songs have special places in my heart that no matter how old I get, will still take me back, if only for a few minutes, to those unforgettable days of my childhood.
- Can you stand the Rain
- Boys to Men
- Candy Girl
- Cool it Now
- Count me out
- Sensitivity (Ralph Tresvant )
- If it isn’t love -
- Poison (BBD)
- Every Little Step (Bobby Brown)
- You’re not my kind of Girl