Comeback albums are a mixed bag. They either make fans squeal with delight from the sheer memory of their past faves; or reel from the thought of a legend becoming a has-been. Recently, SWV and D’Angelo made glorious returns to music, gaining the attention and praise of fans both old and new. However, for every SWV or D’Angelo, there are a hundred Immatures who find no luck mining the past for current fortune and fame. Unfortunately, Jodeci’s first album in 20 years, The Past, The Present, The Future, falls into the latter category.
The album starts with the uptempo “Too Hot,” which features an interpolation of Dawn Penn's reggae classic “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No).” Despite impressive harmonies and K-Ci’s patented liquor house vocals, the song is a generic club R&B tune. The lyrics don't help matters either, with lines like, “Pretty face like Lauryn, body like Mya / I hit her with that thug passion." The song feels like a leftover track from an aborted late '90s album.
One of the biggest selling points of the LP was that DeVante Swing’s protege Timbaland contributed two tracks to the project. However, the Timbo tracks, "Those Things" and "Incredible," sound less like his current music and more like something he produced under Swing's tutelage. “Those Things” is classic Jodeci. Unfortunately, the song is weighed down by uninspired lyrics, which are in part lifted from the past Jodeci hits “Freekin’ You” and “Come and Talk To Me.”
The album isn’t without its high points. The single "Every Moment" is a bedroom jam that old fans will love. It is no surprise that the B.o.B assisted "Nobody Wins" was the buzz single for the album. The lyrics are age appropriate, the message relevant and the production more contemporary. In addition, new artist Liana Banks adds some pizzazz to the remix of “Sho Out.” Finally, current single "Checkin For You" is at least worth checking out and adding to your slow jam playlist.
While The Past, The Present, The Future has the potential to still reach former fans, the group will have to work harder if it wants to reach the babies who were conceived to their music 20 years ago. The group promised not to give us “Come And Talk To Me 2.0.” And they didn’t. Instead they gave us 1.5. The album mines the past for treasure, but only finds scraps of former hits.