Today’s POP RESCUE is the debut 1992 album from singer CeCe Peniston, titled Finally, but does is this album a Love Thang, or something you’d rather not have in your face? Read on…
For those of you with an ear to the Sunday teatime Top 40, or in the clubs of the early 90s, you’ll no doubt recognise her biggest hit, and the album’s title track – the single Finally (which is second on the track listing). It’s a great track, with that fantastic hand-clap, bassline and piano opening. It’s a track that has been remixed to hell and back, as well as sampled many times. Ce Ce’s vocals are sublime on it.
But beyond that, you’d probably struggle to remember the follow up? It was We Got A Love Thang, and it did hit the singles chart. It’s also the song that opens the album.
It’s perfectly up-beat, and although it lasts for 5mins 30 seconds (2 minutes could have easily been sliced off that), it sits perfectly alongside lead single Finally, and contemporaries like Kym Sims.
Two further singles were released from this album but both stray from the catchy pop/dance stable that we are used to hearing Ce Ce in: third track Inside That I Cried is a slow Mariah Carey or Lisa Stansfield-esque ballad. There’s nothing particularly memorable with this track, and it feels quite dull and monotonous. Having given listeners two belting pop tracks, it feels disjointed to put this ballad in here to break the pace. This song would have been better at the end.
Up next is Lifelife, a return to up-tempo again, and whilst it isn’t another Finally or We Got A Love Thang, it certainly feels at home alongside them musically. This is definitely an album track.
House pianos open up It Should Have Been You, which feels quite awkwardly dated as an early dance track now but would have been quite an innovative sound. This should probably have been a single, although at 5:51, it’s far far too long, and could easily lose 2 minutes.
Songwriter Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley gets a co-writer credit with Kym Sims on sixth track Keep On Walkin’, which also became her third single to also chart. Having already reviewed Kym’s album, I could definitely hear this song with her vocals in mind. It does remind me after about 3.5mins in, of Jump by Kriss Kross.
The next up is final single Crazy Love, which reached #44 in the UK singles chart. Again, this is slow and this one reminds me vocally of Lisa Stansfield, and whilst it’s more up-beat than Inside That I Cried, it’s clear that it wasn’t going to impress the fans who had been earned from the first two singles.
Eighth track I See Love is another slow ballad, weighing in at almost 5 minutes. It’s quite unremarkable. Similarly the next track You Win, I Win, We Lose is also quite dull and slow. I could imagine a better version of this being done by En Vogue or even Eternal.
Thankfully Virtue comes in as the tenth track.. and it’s up-beat, funky, and is a great return to the Finally form, finally. It even comes complete with an apologetic rapper.
….but wait… there’s an unlisted track. It’s Finally (Remix) – a 7 minute and 4 second mix. It doesn’t really feel like much of a bonus, but as it was her biggest hit, I think that it at least deserved being mentioned on the album artwork and the disc itself. Oh well.
Where is Ce Ce Peniston now?
Ce Ce released two further studio albums after this one, but failed to repeat her success in the UK, faring much better in her native US.
She continues to release new material, and regularly performs her music.
POP RESCUE RATING
This album has two issues:
- The sound is polar – for a few tracks there’s some of the best early-90s pop and dance, and then you’re hit by a wall of dreary ballads.
- Several of the songs are just so long, particularly the bad ones.
Sorry Ce Ce, this is going to cost you some stars, which is hard considering that the first two tracks/singles are such belters.
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 2 / 5 – Finally and We Got A Love Thang save this.
- 1992 UK CHART POSITION: #10
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.00 from a Poundland store.