Monday, December 12, 2022

"It's No Crime" by Babyface

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3999
Date:  08/12/1989
Debut:  84
Peak:  7
Weeks:  18
Genre:  R&B, New Jack Swing

Pop Bits:  Babyface (Kenneth Edmonds) and his business partner L.A. Reid had been having success writing and producing songs for other artists since doing well as members of The Deele ("Two Occasions," #4 R&B/#10 Pop, 1987). Along the way, Babyface would step out for a solo career and would push out a debut album titled Lovers in 1986. It would peak at #28 R&B thanks to the #8 R&B hit "I Love You Babe." Neither would make the Pop charts. After leaving The Deele and gaining more experience as a hit songwriter/producer, Babyface would work on his second solo album. Tender Lover would be finished in the summer of '89 and this first single would be pushed out. It would be a big hit at R&B reaching #1. It was Babyface's second solo chart topper following a duet with Karyn White, "Love Saw It," that was released earlier in the year from her debut album. "It's No Crime" would be Babyface's mainstream breakthrough with the tune becoming his first to make the Pop chart. It would end up in the Top 10 while also getting to #5 Dance. The hit helped the album reach #1 at R&B while initially peaking at #25 Pop. It would also go gold. However, thanks to a couple more singles, the album would rebound to a new high on the Pop chart while extending its stay at #1 on the R&B chart.

ReduxReview:  I didn't remember this song at all and certainly had no idea this was Babyface's first Pop Top 10. I'm sure I would have heard it back in the day, but none of it sounded familiar. It's a pretty good new jack track with mainstream appeal. The verse kind of reminded me of Duran Duran's "I Don't Want Your Love." Obviously it wasn't all that memorable for me when it was first released. This time around it might stick in my ears a bit longer, but the tune still wouldn't rank among the best new jack songs of the era.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  For the "It's No Crime" single, an instrumental version of the song was created for the b-side of the 45 and for the 12" single. It would end up getting a Grammy nod for Best R&B Instrumental Performance. In that same Grammy cycle, Babyface would receive three other nominations. One for Producer of the Year and two for Best R&B Song (Karyn White's "Superwoman" and Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step"). All three of those nods also included L.A. Reid with Daryl Simmons included on "Superwoman." Babyface would walk away empty handed, but three years later he would earn his first two Grammys, which included one for Producer of the Year.


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