That’s My Jam is a weekly feature where one person from the Selective Hearing staff goes to wax poetic about music that is pivotal to their musical tastes. Whether that would be an album, a song, or anything in-between. We all had to start somewhere.

New Edition NE Heartbreak

Released June 20,1988

Track Listing

  1. “Introduction”
  2. “That’s the Way We’re Livin'”
  3. “Where It All Started”
  4. “If it Isn’t Love”
  5. “Skit #1”
  6. “N.E. Heart Break”
  7. “Crucial”
  8. “Skit #2”
  9. “You’re Not My Kind of Girl”
  10. “Superlady”
  11. “Can You Stand the Rain”
  12. “Competition”
  13. “Skit #3”
  14. “I’m Comin’ Home”
  15. “Boys to Men”

Review

1988 will always be a memorable year for me, as it was the year I graduated high school. It was also the year New Edition came of age and matured from a teen R&B group into the legendary R&B super group it is known as today. The album that told this story was Heart Break.

The popular group from Boston turned it up a notch for this release, guided by the production team of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, who in 1986 were at the helm of Janet Jackson’s multi-platinum album Control. In addition, they added a new member in the form of Johnny Gill. The deep soulful voice of Gill was the perfect complement to the higher pitched Ralph Tresvant. These two lead vocalists combined with occasional solos from Ricky Bell created a perfect balance to the group’s vocals.

Heart Break spawned five singles, with “If It Isn’t Love” peaking on the Billboard Pop charts at #7, and “Can You Stand the Rain” topping the Billboard R&B charts at #1. Heart Break was RIAA-certified platinum in sales with over 1 million copies sold in the United States by the end of September 1988. By July of 1994, it became RIAA-certified double platinum with over 2 million units sold.

Over 25 years later, the songs from this album remain among my favorites in the R&B genre. It is rumored that the author has sung “Can You Stand the Rain” and “If It Isn’t Love” on stage many a time at Bay Area karaoke bars, when he used to do that sort of thing.

Below are videos of some of the tracks from Heart Break, starting with my one of my all-time favorite slow jams, “Can You Stand the Rain”.

Can You Stand the Rain

If It Isn’t Love

You’re Not My Kind of Girl

Boys to Men

NE Heartbreak

iTunes