Jagged Edge‘s eight album, JE Heartbreak II finds the quartet reunited with producer Jermaine Dupri, label So So Def and their original management Mauldin Brand Agency. The theme here is all about bringing back true R&B, so the guys shy away from Rap features or features of any kind, as well as Hip-Hop infused beats. Slow jams are plentiful in this 12 song album and with Bryan Michael Cox assisting the Casey twins on songwriting and production, its very much reminiscent to the sound of early Jagged Edge albums.
I would have still have been weary of calling this album JE Heartbreak II, simply because duplicating the success and the caliber of hits the former album had is borderline impossible in today’s music industry. The group has had a plethora or hits, spanning even beyond their original So So Def break-up, but the title gives the impression that they are striving for glory days long gone, which clearly is not the case. Right from the beginning with “Future” long term fans know they are in for a treat this. The perfectly written love song to a slow melody that’s just right is an instant reminder of the immense talent these guys have and why they may be the greatest male R&B group of our time.
Jermaine Dupri wouldn’t be the executive producer of this project he didn’t do his best to push the envelope on exactly what the line for R&B was. “Familiar” is one of those records the group probably had to fight with Jermaine not to have a Rap feature appear on. “Posters (We Stay On One)” is another one of those, but Jagged Edge have always tried to end an album on an upbeat note.
The album’s lead single, “Hope” is another slow jam that speaks to the heart of music fans. It’s found moderate success but the relatable song of a man trying to help a woman get over a past heartbreak is one of the best tracks to be released this year.
Standout tracks on the album include “Romeo,” “No Half Stepping”and “Love Come Down.” As per usual, especially on the recent material from the group, there isn’t much room for anything besides hit records. I challenge any listener to find a track they want to skip over. It makes sense though that after almost 15 years in the business they have perfected the art of creating a perfect song and ultimately a perfect album.
JE Heartbreak II receives a PARL
PARL… Kinda Great