Monday, April 24, 2023

"Tender Lover" by Babyface

Song#:  4109
Date:  11/18/1989
Debut:  85
Peak:  14
Weeks:  17
Genre:  R&B, New Jack Swing

Pop Bits:  Babyface's second album, Tender Lover, was shaping up to be a hit thanks to its first single "It's No Crime" getting to #1 R&B, #7 Pop, and #5 Dance. Next in line to keep album sales going was this title track second single. Once again the tune would end up topping the R&B chart. It was Babyface's third straight R&B #1 counting his duet with Karyn White, "Love Saw It," which was from her self-titled debut album. "Tender Lover" would cross over to the Pop chart, but would stop a bit shy of the Top 10. The hit helped the album reach platinum sales by the end of '89. It would go double platinum in the summer of '90 following the release of the LP's third single "Whip Appeal." That track would get to #2 R&B, #6 Pop, and #36 AC. A fourth single, "My Kinda Girl," would get to #3 R&B/#30 Pop. Eventually the album, which topped out at #1 R&B/#14 Pop, would go triple platinum and earn Babyface three Grammy nominations including one for Producer of the Year.

ReduxReview:  This was an appropriate follow up to "It's No Crime," but it didn't show anything different from Babyface. It was a good, hooky new jack track that had a sweeter tone than his previous hit. He'd change to a quiet storm mood next with "Whip Appeal," which suited him well. While Babyface had hits, most were less memorable that ones he wrote for other artists. Still, he carved out a pretty good solo career in the 90s.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  After Tender Lover, Babyface would score a couple of hit duets with Pebbles and Toni Braxton, the latter of which appeared on the soundtrack to the hit flick The Bodyguard. Also on that album was "End of the Road" by Boys II Men. That single would be a massive hit that set a new record by spending 13 weeks at #1 on the Pop chart. However, that record was short lived when Whitney Houston's big hit from the soundtrack "I Will Always Love You" would spend 14 weeks at the top. Babyface would return to solo work in '93 and issue out For the Cool in You. Four singles from the LP would make the R&B Top 10 including the #6 "When Can I See You," which also reached #6 Pop and #10 AC. The album would be another triple platinum seller (#2 R&B/#16 Pop). Then in '94 another song Babyface wrote for Boys II Men, "I'll Make Love to You," would tie Houston's #1 streak by spending 14 weeks atop the Pop chart. The streak of successes continued with his '96 album The Day. It would be a #4 R&B/#6 Pop double-platinum seller thanks to a pair of platinum hits, "This Is for the Lover" (#2 R&B/#6 Pop) and "Every Time I Close My Eyes" (#5 R&B/#6 Pop). While his solo hits would cool off later in the 90s, Babyface had further successes with other artists such as TLC. Grammys would come his way and he would win 10 of them in the 90s.


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