Context – Eating lunch
I want TLC to succeed. I want them to be happy. After dominating the late nineties and early aughts with hits like “No Scrubs” (which I thought was a Destiny’s Child song) and “Waterfalls”, they suffered the loss of the L to their T and C–Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in 2002 at the height of their career. Devastating.
And props to the T and the C for not trying to replace the L, but unfortunately they had to come back with their “final” album, their first in 15 years. I don’t know they felt the need to do this (not saying it’s a cash grab but it’s probably a cash grab), but now that it’s here I’m not going to not listen to it.
The first two songs would be really good songs if they weren’t about TLC’s previous success, which unfortunately had me tuning out much of the rest of the album. If I wanted to reminisce about “Creep” and “Unpretty” I’d just go listen to those songs, I don’t need to have you reminding me that you wrote them. I know it, we haven’t forgotten.
I feel mixed with this opinion of TLC considering I give Jay-Z and Dr. Dre passes for this very same behavior, but maybe that’s because I listen to them more. I couldn’t tell you any TLC songs besides those I’ve already name dropped, so I don’t much care that they’ve returned outside of this mild and morbid fascination I have with my own made up reasons for why they released this album.
But as it turns out I’m ok being hypocritical about my selective enforcement of the “no nostalgic bragging” rule that I just made up for music. Unless you’re The Go Team or Freezepop, who’s entire careers have been about how awesome it is to be in their bands, please just let your history speak for itself.
It brings up the question of necessity as a measure of art. Did TLC need to make this album? Did Twin Peaks really need to come back? Do we really need a Rocko’s Modern Life movie this late in the game?
Let the dead stay dead, people. There have been some mixed quality revival acts going on, and it’s a shame to see TLC fall for this same bait. This album is fine in a vacuum, I’d be lying if I wasn’t into a few songs here and there. But I don’t feel like I needed this album, and I don’t think it blew me away enough to justify the implied drama of a comeback 15 years after relevancy.