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Classic Example: Classic Example

Album Notes

Classic Example was one of those groups that was expected to be big but ended up falling through the cracks. The male vocal quintet's producer/mentor was Maurice Starr, who had been responsible for the success of New Edition and New Kids on the Block--and Classic Example was expected to be either the next New Edition or the next Boyz II Men. But this self-titled debut album wasn't the blockbuster that Starr (who produced much of the material) was hoping for. Nonetheless, Classic Example isn't bad. The Boston combo has a youthful style, but without getting into the teeny bopper stuff that New Kids were known for--the tunes are a lot meatier and grittier than that. And at the same time, Classic Example avoids the type of aggressive, in-your-face new jack swing that was huge in the early 1990s. Emphasizing romantic ballads and slow jams, this 1992 release is best described as neo-soul--it's a perfect example of what music critic Nelson George calls "retro nuevo." The production is high-tech and hip-hop-influenced, but elements of 1960s and 1970s soul still assert themselves. Think of the most soul-minded urban contemporary that Levert and Johnny Gill were providing in the early 1990s, and you will know where Classic Example is coming from on this CD. Although not perfect, this is a decent and fairly promising (if derivative) effort that should have done better. ~ Alex Henderson


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