Pitchfork (Website) - "'Those Things', one of The Past's best tracks, begins in that classic territory before rapid-fire kick drums and snares and a warped synth offer a genius update: New jack swing for a post-trap world, courtesy of former protégé Timbaland..."
Audio Mixer: Jaycen Joshua.
Recording information: Audio Mix House, Henderson, NV.
Photographer: Steven Taylor .
It would have been irrational to expect Jodeci to make as big as splash with a 2015 album as they did with Forever My Lady. Since that 1991 debut, the group had a major ripple effect on their genre that had yet to cease when the group reconvened. Every R&B singer who portrayed himself as a lustful player, as well as those who were inspired merely by gorgeous ballads like "Come & Talk to Me" and "Love U 4 Life," from R. Kelly to Trey Songz, owes a lot to Jodeci. While The Past, The Present, The Future contains some references to the back catalog, as well as a pair of co-productions from Timbaland -- who got his start with Jodeci -- the album isn't overtly nostalgic. "Nobody Wins" features B.o.B., who was a toddler in 1991 and has a much younger fan base, but the song was a bold choice for the album's first single. In stark contrast with commercial hits, it addresses domestic violence. Follow-up single "Checkin' for You" is more in line with '90s Jodeci, a balance between arrogance and romance with the type of harmonizing no one else can deliver. Most of the other songs -- everything was co-written and co-produced by DeVante Swing -- add to the album's legitimacy, and the past and present are indeed woven together throughout. The mostly piano-and-strings ballad "Jennifer," for instance, dates back to the group's formation; in its earliest incarnation, the song was sung by JoJo just before he was brought into the group. "Incredible," though a bit nasally in the chorus, interpolates the S.O.S. Band as effectively as "What About Us" drew from Zapp. No opportunistic cash-in on a legacy, this is a confident, refined return -- a necessary one in a field starving for group harmony singing. It's as solid as a reasonable longtime fan could expect. ~ Andy Kellman