Many artists saw their careers flourish during the nineties, but Babyface was on some next level ish. You literally couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing one of his songs. Not only did he dominate the decade as a genre-crossing producer – churning out mega hits for artists like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Brandy, Toni Braxton, Madonna, Eric Clapton and Boyz II Men; plus incredible soundtracks for movies like The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale and Soul Food – but his career as an artist was just as prolific. So when he released his fourth studio album The Day in 1996 (fifth if you count his 1991 remix album A Closer Look), everyone expected it would leave a lasting impression…and he did not disappoint.
As with all of his albums up to this point, the central theme was love. But this project in particular had an even more meaningful distinction as the album’s title refers to the birth of his first son Brandon. He expounded on the subject with sentimental hindsight in the titular ode to his child and then-wife Tracey Edmonds “The Day (That You Gave Me a Son).” It was sweet and special, yet it wasn’t the highlight of the set. In fact, the true standouts of the album were all propelled by the strength of the guest features.
Hip-hop laced lead single and Shalamar remake “This Is For The Lover In You” was an instant favorite thanks to reunion of the track’s original singers (Jody Watley, Howard Hewett and Jeffrey Daniels) and some slick rhymes by LL Cool J. Second release “Every Time I Close My Eyes” saw Mariah Carey stepping into her former role as a background singer, yet her interplay with Babyface along with Kenny G‘s pristine saxophone transformed the romantic song to timeless hit. Music legend Stevie Wonder joins Mr. Edmonds to make a powerful statement against domestic violence on the poignant ballad “How Come, How Long.” And Eric Clapton reteamed with the producer (who, by the way, helped him earn a slew of awards for “Change the World”) and brought folksy charm to “Talk to Me.” Still, the album would be nothing without the smooth and golden voice of Babyface.The Day has held up well these past 20 years and serves as yet another testament to the creative genius of Kenneth Edmonds.