Thursday, September 15, 2016

B5-B5 (2005)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 15, 2016

Prepare to B dazzled! There was the New York City-based boyband that called itself B3, and then there was this other boyband hailing from the other end of the Atlantic called B5. Can't recall exactly, but I'd surely heard this all-brother bunch before, sometime during my past excursions with the whole "Radio Disney" phenomenon, which is part of the group's earliest origins. Beyond that, my memory of them was rather vague. I had the chance to get acquainted with them about six years ago when a fellow boyband lover requested their albums which, at the time, were not in my possession Well let's say that I'm now finally making up for lost time with this indulgent, thorough listening party that I decided to throw for myself, starting with B5's self-titled debut. 'Let it be as it shall be'—a favorite personal quotation of mine (to explain how anything and everything happens for a good reason) almost is delivered word for word on the opening acapella piece, which serves as a terrific introduction and gives them a place to show off their smooth harmonizing talents and prove that they're the real deal. But the real music fun begins after those introductory seconds are done and the cool, funky bounce of "U Got Me" steps in. Here, they show off another talent in their musical arsenal: their knack for laying down the fresh rap, which is skillfully demonstrated a second time on "Nothin 'Bout Me". The two songs are like night a day: on the former, it's the girl who's got him all wrapped up in love; on the latter, it's all about jealousy, rumors and the whole game of being hated on without the girl getting to know the real him. More games are being played on "Heartbreak", a skippy tune with a delightful hum-along melody that belies the painful mood expressed in their story about the girl being the first to hurt him emotionally. I particularly like all of the rhyming and the back-and forth echoing of 'no' and 'oh' in the main chorus. B careful with with one; the music will get stuck to you B-for long! Then they're just tired of being played altogether on "No More Games", where the B5 brother with the highest voice takes lead. It's a fun jam that I can really get into, despite their declaration of girl, I'm sick and tired of you, so step now baby ' and their other words of frustration setting a sour mood for the song. The boys are in brighter spirits everywhere else. Let them "Dance For You" on this album's instantly ear-pleasing second track. Or hear how much they appreciate a girl's beauty and her making their whole world full and complete on "So Pretty". And a message for all the girls who've been mistreated by the guys they're with: just "Let Me Know" and I'll treat you even better than he did. This one's so musically delicious if you ask me—from the big-time bounce of the beat to the whole suspenseful vibe created by the chords to the B5 brothers opting to sing in unison, switching it up from their collective harmony heard plentifully elsewhere on the album. 'Slow Jam Of The Night' alert: "All I Do". An excellent finger-snapper of a groove that you can really sink into here as the boys flash their charm and reveal the only thing they can think about at school each day is the girl that they sing about. Keeping things slowed down on "Teacher's Pet", it's a cute love story about a girl who believes she's too old for him, highlighted by the humorous dialogue midway through where she says so explicitly while he's singing his pleas to her. The B5 brother with the highest voice takes lead once more on the sweet offering that is "Back In Your Arms". That, combined with the distinctively classy old-school flavor to it immediately brought to mind THE JACKSON FIVE or the earliest days of NEW EDITION. And as I make that remark now, I had actually formulated a comparison to the latter group right from the beginning. Perhaps these B5 boys were the newer edition of NEW EDITION, frozen somewhere back in time and reemerging from that time capsule after the ice thawed out just in time to make new waves and reinvent themselves with a renewed contemporary r&b sound in the New Millennium:

1. Let It Be
2. U Got Me
3. Dance For You
4. So Pretty
5. All I Do
6. Teacher's Pet
7. Let Me Know
8. Nothin 'Bout Me
9. Heartbreak
10. Back In Your Arms
11. No More Games
12. You Don't Know What You Do To Me

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