After the success of the single “Don’t Let Go (Love),” En Vogue returned to the studio and released another album. However, it was without Dawn Robinson, who opted to go solo. En Vogue were refashioned as EV3 and attempted to fit into the new state of R&B.
The lead single, “Whatever,” written and produced by Babyface, is a “Waiting for Exhale” reject.
Backed by a jingly synthesizer and drums, “Whatever” is a stale R&B ode to unrequited love. It’s laden with such tiresome lyrics as “I’m burning with desire/my heart and soul on fire/so do take care/please be careful with my heart.” Babyface wrote some really good R&B music for the “Waiting to Exhale” soundtrack, but he seems to run out of ideas with this single.
One less singer does make a difference, though. Without Robinson, they lack their trademark vocal punch. However, it doesn’t detract from the fact that they are excellent singers. In their individual verses, Maxine Jones, Terry Ellis, and Cindy Herron-Braggs vocals are crisp and refined. They seem to be nurturing the notes as they sing them.
Babyface, quite simply, is not their sound. En Vogue can be great when they are full of attitude and complete. Here, they sound like every other girl group on the radio.