Album Review – Jagged Edge, J.E. Heartbreak 2

We all knew this was coming. Jagged Edge will always have a special place in my heart after their song Ready was my first song review. Now I’m breaking down their whole J.E. Heartbreak 2 album, the sequel to their Platinum-selling J.E. Heartbreak album of 2000. So does the next chapter of the Heartbreak series live up to standards, or pull a Star Wars on itself and keep listeners on a false hope for over a decade?

Before I break this down, I want to say that I really appreciate the message that this album is meant to convey: RnB/Soul has been put in the shadow of Hip-Hop/Rap and it is rare to find a solo RnB collection. Jagged Edge wants us to focus on their RnB music, which believe me, is not difficult.

Now that we have that little tidbit out of the way, let us break down this album track-by-track:

1. JE Intro – The new trend in music seems to be having a contemplative intro to an album, which has been refreshing. This sets up the notion that the rest of the album will be RnB, no Hip-Hop or Rap or Pop should be expected and alienates anyone who are not strictly enjoying the album for its RnB aspects. It also explains the lack of quality song-writing recently. While this is incredible and iconic for a major RnB fan like myself, it can put off success and drive away potential listeners, which is threatening to profit. I like it, but I can understand others being driven away by the intro. Then again, kudos to Jagged Edge for standing up and saying “This is us. Like it or leave it.” The Intro is hardly music though, so not really for listening purposes. It more or less makes a statement and provides the opinion of the group. Not really rate-able.

2. Future – Right away I loved this song. It screams RnB and is a smooth yet emotional love ballad. Provides a similar sound to the rest of the album though, so I can guarantee that you should expect more of the same after this. 9/10

3. Familiar – Familiar is way more upbeat than Future was, but contracts the same Jagged Edge touch. The beat is more complex and the lyrics feel more mature. I was a bit disappointed in the brief rap segments after the first and third hook, especially after my hopes were really raised up in the Intro that this would be a pure crooner-type RnB sound. Still an enjoyable song though. 8.25/10

4. Hope – This song started it all, after being the first song by the group since 2011. The song is passionate and embodies RnB yet has a very catchy sound to it. This was absolutely a great start, and I wish I had heard it earlier. Definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. 9.5/10

5. Things I Do For You – This was the perfect follow-up to the previous three songs, which feel manlier and tougher. Then we transition and get an idea of the vulnerable and softer side of Jagged Edge. The song feels like it has a lot to say in not enough time, but otherwise it is still a great song. 8.5/10

6. Love Come Down – A lot of the team working on Hope also contributed to Love Come Down, though I felt Hope was the better of the two. That does not mean, however, that Love Come Down is not a good song. Actually, it is one of the best on the album, showing how much I love Hope. Something about the flow on the hook feels really rushed and off though. Regardless, the song is a catchy and upbeat RnB hit, and the bridge makes up for the awkward feel in the beginning. Basically, it’s gonna be good RnB/Soul listening for me. 9/10

7. It’s Been You – It’s Been You starts immediately, but is slow and more emotional than the rest of the album. Again, we get more of the softer side of Jagged Edge (if that makes sense). I like the slow sound, but it is not always in high demand by listeners, who tend to enjoy a higher pace. For it’s purpose, it does its job though. 9.5/10

8. Romeo – I seriously like this song, like it just barely follows up Hope in my favorites on here. It could be considered the best song on the album, except the transition from the hook into the verses just feels a bit awkward. The song is pleasurable and catchy for RnB, which seems to be the trend in this album. 9.25/10

9. Getting Over You – Already reviewed this song here.

10. Ready – My first song review, going way back here.

11. Make It Clear – “So what it is, girl” Lol, what is that, 1993? No, I cannot bust on this song, as I actually do like it. Sounds like the previous tracks though, resembles more of Jagged Edge’s sound. It is a bit hard to figure out where the hook is though at first. 8.5/10

12. No Half Steppin – More of the same vulnerable Jagged Edge, but I like this more than the preceding ones. Not much else to say about it really, flow is solid and song is the RnB that this album should embody. 9.25/10

13. No Poster (We Stay On One) – This is the Hip-Hopiest song on the album, and while it has its good moments, it goes off the tracks a bit and makes the conclusion of the album just feel a little lacking. I was expecting some incredible passionate love song to end the album. Placement is probably the worst part of the song, and it is still enjoyable. Just a little off from the usual sound I’ve come to love. 8.5/10

So that averages out to be slightly above 8.75/10. The album shows that Jagged Edge has not let go of their roots, but still stays modern. The RnB sound of the whole project is excellent to me, though, and their message is clear (most of the time). If you like harmonies, this is the group for you. You can listen to the whole album below and see what you think, but if I had to recommend anything I would say listen to anything above a 9/10.

Check out the album below:

-Austin Heath

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Music Recommendation – Single – Jagged Edge, Getting Over You

This one is fresh off the shelves about two weeks after I posted about their first comeback single, Ready as my first music recommendation. Getting Over You has the same vibe, and in fact sounds actually very similar to its predecessor.

Despite the similarities between these two songs, Getting Over You brings a serious RnB sound to it that Ready also had. Both brothers use their vocals well and make this song a hit. My only complaint is how similar it is to Ready, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right?

Really, there’s not much else to say about it. Only thing I can say is that it is more of what we expected from Jagged Edge. Overall, it’s hard to rate a song I pretty much already rated before. However if I had to choose, I would give it a 9.25/10. I think it is worth a listen below, especially as it was just released tonight! And don’t worry, the first couple of seconds are deceiving. So go check it out:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Jagged Edge, Ready

Guess who’s back? Hint: It’s not Shady. Well, yes, Boyz II Men is working on their comeback. Oh yeah, Prince is also back in the studio. However, I was thinking more of veteran RnB group Jagged Edge (not to be confused with the 1985 film). The Atlanta-based Jagged Edge hasn’t put out an album since 2011, but they released their first single since then back in May, dubbed “Hope.” While Hope was a nice start, I feel like Ready is the real return of Jagged Edge and their sound.

My first encounter with this group was actually with this song, but it left a mark on me that has made it one of my favorite songs right now. This one dropped earlier this month, so give yourself “hipster status” for hearing this one early before Jagged Edge makes a big impact again. I have a feeling September 30th will be a good day for RnB fans, and many music fans in general!

Now, to get to the actual song. The beginning starts slow, but transitions smoothly. The whole “playa no longer gonna play” vibe is introduced early. The guitar in the background meshes well with the background sounds and beat. Normally I am not a fan of acoustic in RnB music, but it is consistent and melodic. The Casey twins harmonize perfectly on the hook as the beat intensifies. Stanza two seems more honest and passionate, keeping the consistent souly sound of this song.

Then, at around 2 and a half minutes, the song becomes gold. More harmonies (which I am a sucker) and a pitch-raise makes this 30-second part perfect. It leads into an “I’m ready, ready babe” for another 30 seconds, then back to the same old same old. Then the song fades out after about 4 minutes and 13 seconds.

My general opinion on the song is that it is definitely worth listening to more than once, and is very good background music while performing any task. Jagged Edge returns with an excellent tune, giving their new song a 9/10 in my book. Can’t wait to see more in their new album, J.E. Heartbreak 2. Go ahead and listen below, and let me know in the comments what you think!

-Austin Heath