SWV: I Missed Us

Posted June 1, 2012 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

R&b female trio ends their decade-plus hiatus for mixbag adventure

1997’s Release Some Tension kind of left a bitter aftertaste in the mouths of SWV after getting a “little kinky tonight,” despite the innuendos exhibited earlier on 1992’s “Blak Pudd’n.” Since that album, the EnVogue-inspired pre-Destiny’s Child trio have been virtually M.I.A., but have since broken their silence to favor their older audience with a slice of nostalgia. Without Sean Combs and Missy Elliot around, the girls aren’t going to subject themselves to “good girl gone bad” naughtiness to sell records. But that is where I Missed Us slips.

Despite its load of sleaze, Release Some Tension still packed a good wallop of radio-ready, youth singles. Except for the lively standout opening track, “Co-Sign,” the sounds on the group’s fourth studio album tries to play catch up on the group’s leave of absence and ends up sounding like urban r&b MOR and most cases, a trail-by-error shooting range. When the producers play with Rufus & Chaka’s “Do You Love What You Feel” on “Do Ya,” they stab some of the breezy melody out the mix. Lead singer majority Coko Clemons tends to oversing, as she wages war on Beyonce-inspired riffs and runs. Their slate of producers (Cainon Lamb, Bryan-Michael Cox, Carvin & Ivan, Mike Clemons) try to go for a blend of yesteryear r&b and modern soul, even transplanting the predictable snap and crackles of vinyl on their song’s intros. They also go for Roots-y instrumentation, even resurrecting Patti LaBelle’s “If Only You Knew” with a smooth jazz-meets-lounge soul smoothness. It’s a modest grown-up style, and in some cases it works for the best (“The Best Years”). The group even dig their stilettos into modern-urban fanfare: “Better Than I” feels like a decent follow-up single to “Co-Sign,” except that the grungy urban contemporary formula conjures the familiarness of Mary Mary’s “God in Me.” That same drum-programmed crunk falls on “Show Off,” which shows off SWV’s signature high-school harmonies. But many of the tracks fall flat in the area of excitement. Even the less-than-familiar guest rappers aren’t necessarily good hypemen.

Fans of SWV will enjoy the return and will most certainly call it a satisfying rebirth, but nothing here sounds like “Right Here” or even comes close to touching “Weak,” which proves that I Missed Us is still missing something.



  • Release Date: 17 April 2012
  • Label: Mass Appeal Entertainment/E1
  • Producers: Canion Lamb, Bryan-Michael Cox, Cavin & Ivan, Big Mike Clemons
  • Spin This: “Co-Sign,” “The Best Years”

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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