Babyface’s ‘For the Cool in You’ Celebrates 20 Years
By the time Babyface released ‘For the Cool in You’ on Aug. 24, 1993, he’d already racked up accolades as a behind-the-scenes songwriter and producer (most notably Paula Abdul, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men and TLC). His sophomore album four years prior, ‘Tender Love,’ was a hit and four No. 1 R&B singles solidified his recording career as an artist.
In 1993, Rolling Stone referred to Babyface as the Cliff Huxtable of R&B, and the comparison still holds today. In some way, his grooves were lighter versions to Bobby Brown’s aggressive vocals and Toni Braxton’s cooing growls.
That’s exactly what ‘For the Cool in You’ is: a softer counterpart to the new jack swing of the time. R&B artists like Johnny Gill, Michael Jackson (during his ‘Dangerous’ era), and JT Taylor (former Kool & The Gang lead singer) were practicing the new jack swing movement on their records.
The very sound Babyface had helped start with Teddy Riley had allowed him to play up the romantic side. So while everyone was busy making songs for the dance floor, Babyface got to work on something a lot more intimate -- just Babyface and his guitar.
‘For the Cool in You’ opens the album and it could have interchangeably gone to Toni Braxton. Though Babyface rode the lyrical groove the way only the writer would. The way the record harmonizes the phrase, “Cool in you," is a sound that name-drops Babyface pretty fast.
Five singles were released from ‘For the Cool in You’ all of which made the top 10 on the R&B charts, and three became Top 40 hits.
‘When Can I See You’ still stands as one of the singer-songwriter’s most successful records reaching No. 4 on the Billboard 100. The song is a signature and synonymous with his peak as a solo artist. Not even ‘Everytime I Close My Eyes,’ three years later would surpass the sweetness and vulnerability of the hit.
‘And Our Feelings’ is probably the best example of Babyface’s talent as a recording artist. It plays out like a country song by telling a story of a love lost through friend’s opinions. Babyface has always been a gentleman and ‘A Bit Old-Fashioned’ personifies the state of mind. “I believe that a woman is the most precious thing on earth... I'm just a bit old-fashioned and I can't help livin' that way,” he sings.
The '90s saw an influx of R&B and its easy to forget that Babyface was also one of those artists that era gifted us. ‘For the Cool in You’ is classic in that sense, it’s not only a center of memories, but when you listen to it again, you feel bad for even forgetting about it at all.
Watch Babyface’s ‘Never Keeping Secrets’ Video
Watch Babyface’s ‘Rock Bottom’ Video
Watch Babyface’s ‘For The Cool In You’ Video
Watch Babyface’s ‘And Our Feelings’ Video
Watch Babyface’s ‘When Can I See You’ Video