Trend-setting, record-breaking, R&B girl group, TLC, has finally released their fifth studio album. After the long wait, TLC fans all over the world were probably wondering if the project would ever come to fruition. The self-titled album, which they claim to be their last, has come to us a very long 15 years after the most recent one.
TLC formed in 1990 in Atlanta, Georgia and was comprised of 3 members who would fit the vision of a tomboyish, funky, yet smooth group that would be the female counterpart to acts such as Bel Biv DeVoe, that represented the new jack swing sound. The line-up of the group consisted of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas.
The first album, Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip, was released in February 1992 to great critical and commercial success. The refreshing blend of funk, hip-hop and R&B, as well as the electrifying chemistry between the girls, made them and unmatched force to be reckoned with, earning the debut album a quadruple platinum certification by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).
In November 1994, TLC released their sophomore album, CrazySexyCool. The album debuted at #15 on the Billboard 200 list, peaking at #3 and staying on the chart for 2 years. Rolling Stone ranked it among the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It is still the only album by a female group to ever be certified diamond by the RIAA. During the peak of their success, TLC was forced to file for bankruptcy due to “unfavorable contracts” with LaFace Records and their management, Pebbitone. After 2 years of litigation, the case was settled in 1996 and TLC was able to renegotiate their contracts.
The third album, dedicated to their fans, was titled FanMail and was released in February 1999. The album went six-time platinum, while the FanMail tour grossed $72.8 million, making it the highest grossing tour by a female group. All three members had also worked on a few solo ventures that included acting, producing and solo music, so after the tour, they took some time off to focus on individual projects and personal interests.
After completing a majority of what would be TLC’s fourth album, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was in Honduras filming a documentary, when she was tragically killed in a car accident on April 25, 2002. The film clips would later become a documentary about “The Last Days of Left-Eye”, with a title of the same name and shown exclusively by VH1. The remaining members of TLC went on hiatus for sometime following the death of their group member and “sister”, but ultimately decided to finish the album they had been working on, which was eventually named 3D and released in November that same year. It was debuted at #6 on Billboard 200 and went on to be certified double-platinum.
T-Boz and Chilli retired the group after the promotion of 3D, deciding not to replace Left-Eye. They later chose to continue on as a duo, while keeping Left-Eye’s memory alive through their music. They have performed at various events, including award shows and and benefit concerts, as well as being featured on other artists albums. They have even had their own reality shows. In 2005, they had a show called R U The Girl? on UPN, in which they searched for a talented artist they felt had the “it” factor and the same spirit of TLC. In 2010, Chilli had a reality show called What Chilli Wants on VH1, where she was looking for love in someone who was “husband and role-model material”. Then in 2013, T-Boz also had a show on VH1, a documentary-style reality named Totally T-Boz, that only aired four episodes. That same year, VH1 produced a biographical made-for-tv movie or “biopic” about the iconic group titled CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story.
Then in January 2015, the group announced that they planned to record their fifth and final album to be funded by launching a campaign via Kickstarter.com, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. TLC asked fans to donate and help them reach their goal of $150,000 to fund the project. Within 48 hours, the campaign had raised over $400,000, making it the “fastest most funded pop project in Kickstarter history”. The outcry of support from their fans and peers prompted TLC to proclaim that they would never break up and would continue to perform together, always.
Now 2017, the last time we were graced with a TLC album was 15 years ago. The latest album is self-titled and was released today on TLC’s newly formed independent label, 852 Musiq, across all major digital streaming outlets. Some songs have a classic TLC feel, where others have gone in a new direction, yet have kept the familiar smooth funk with a contemporary spin we love about TLC. A few of the tracks were instant favorites, but I’m sure I’ll still catch myself singing all of them. Either way, I can’t wait to see the success this album brings them and what they do next!
To listen to the new album, click here.
#TLC the new album is #LongOverdue