First Hit #1: April 25, 1998
Here’s the thing with these R&B Ballads, they kind of run together. What separates Too Close from, say, All My Life? It’s entirely the vocalist, because musically they’re really not that very different. This is nothing new, of course, and I prefer the arrangement tricks to the same from a decade ago, but honestly you could probably switch the vocal tracks of Too Close and All My Life without anybody noticing it.
So what of the vocal? Next has more variety, since they have a lady in the mix, but they’re also not quite as well matched as K-Ci & Jojo and their harmonies aren’t as interesting. The lyrics are more overtly sexual – and there’s something actually nice about having a female voice in the mix, since there’s an element of sex being more mutual fun rather than the usual sex being about one half – usually male, especially with recent hits – just being really awesome at it. She’s not used enough, but it’s still a twist on a well worn formula. Otherwise, Too Close is, much like All My Life, kind of middle of the road. It’s a trend, they’re capitalizing on it, but not many people are speaking of Next in hushed tones a decade later.