TLC - TLC (Album Review)

Wednesday, 12 July 2017 Written by Milly McMahon

TLC owned a definitive moment in modern R&B’s golden era. T-Boz, Chilli, and the late Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes inspired female empowerment and, with songs like Waterfalls and No Scrubs, secured a place in pop history. ‘TLC’, a final album fronted by T-Boz and Chilli, ensures that their legacy is left intact.

Embarking on their careers with ‘Ooooooohhh...on the TLC Tip’ in 1992, they immediately displayed incredible strength and promise, yet what followed became a tumultuous and often controversial journey that encompassed infighting and bankruptcy. Following Left Eye’s death in a car crash in 2002 and the subsequent release of the unsuccessful ‘3D’, T-Boz and Chilli stepped back from the studio for 15 years. But the duo have triumphantly returned here.

Financed by a Kickstarter campaign, this record remembers and celebrates the late, great Left Eye. Standout track American Gold speaks on the fragility of life, commenting on the trauma of losing their bandmate amid societal concerns.

“I lost some friends, some friends that I didn't want to,” they sing. “I lost some stars. My heart bleeds red, white, and blue. I've been in and out of the fire battling for you. Oh, bleeding on American soil.”

The overall finish of the album is vintage and produced with simplicity to allow the rawness of TLC to resonate. Scandalous, for example, is straight out of the late ‘90s and Britney would have killed for it circa ‘Baby One More Time’.

Throwbacks like this and Aye Muthafucka could feel dated, but the attitude, lyrical prowess and conviction Chilli and T-Boz channel is infectious. TLC were always known for their outspoken content and women felt understood by them, particularly on their 1999 album ‘FanMail’, which was home to both No Scrubs and Unpretty.

Here were beautiful women speaking honestly about vulnerabilities and insecurities with proud ownership of perceived imperfections. ‘TLC’ takes the same approach, delivering mission statements designed to inspire the fans who paid for the album’s creation.

TLC is a sisterhood comprising everything crazy, sexy, cool, and a concept that feels impenetrable to outside ego or aggression. These women have lived a life of achievement and loss; they sing from a place of hard knocks, affirmation and gratitude.

‘TLC’ is a perfect ending to one hell of a journey laid bare by two brave musicians and role models. The end of TLC’s recording career is a salute to struggles with misogyny, tragedy and success. It helps that it’s also a summer must listen.

TLC Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sun November 05 2017 - BOURNEMOUTH BIC
Wed November 08 2017 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Thu November 09 2017 - GLASGOW SEC Armadillo
Sat November 11 2017 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Mon November 13 2017 - LONDON Eventim Apollo
Thu November 16 2017 - BIRMINGHAM Barclaycard Arena Birmingham

Click here to compare & buy TLC Tickets at Stereoboard.com.





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