Single Review: En Vogue “Too Gone, Too Long”

Too Gone, Too Long
Album: EV3
Year: 1997

Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron Braggs, and Maxine Jones of En Vogue dismiss an ex-boyfriend in the characterless “Too Gone, Too Long”

Huffy keyboards begin the single as “ohhs” are wailed in the background. Since I’m not sure of the vocals, Jones will be considered lead. Jones scoffs at her ex’s pleas to get back together again. She inquires as to what his motives are and tells him he shouldn’t have broken up with her. She adds the situation is reversed and he’s not welcome in her life anymore. (“Did I hear you say that/You want another chance/You need another try/You’re ready to reclaim your prize/So, you want my love back/Why’d you let it slip away/Why’d you ever let me go/
Your change of heart has come too late/Well, the door is locked/You can’t get in/The game has changed/You’ve been.”)

A lot of time has passed since their breakup and she’s over him now. He’s sudden reappearance isn’t going to change her mind. (“Too gone, too long, baby/To ever get back again/In my heart/Too gone, too long, baby/You’re too many tears too late/To ever come back, to get back in my arms/Been gone/Too gone, too long.”)

She recounts their last conversation in the second verse. She told him was acting hastily. He would eventually find out that the ass isn’t greener on the other side and would return. He wasn’t going to find another woman who would put up with his annoying habits or listen to his every problem. She tells him he’s ancient history in her life and he has to fend for himself now. (“Didn’t you hear me say that/You’d be a fool to leave/You’d regret the road your chose/You’d come running right back to me/You had such a good love, sugar/You’ll never find with no one else/But what I know all the time/You had to find out for yourself/But now you’ll never know/That love again/You’re on your own/You’ve been.”)

In the bridge, she asks him she’s not desperate for him and has a boyfriend. He’s not a part of her life and won’t be ever again. (“Did you really think I’d take you back/Let you back in my life/Oh, baby/Just like that/Someone new is loving me/Loving you is what used to be/Baby, you’re too late/To win my heart again.”)

The chorus is sung twice. However, En Vogue snap and bob at the end, telling him it isn’t going to happen and he’s not worth the time. He’s instructed to “hit road the jack” and forget her address. (“No, never/No, never/Just too long/I don’t need you/I don’t want you/Later for you baby/Oh, oh/Hit the road, Jack/And don’t you come back/Oh, yeah, yeah/Oh, oh, yeah.”)

While En Vogue’s vocals are superb, the single suffers from songwriter’s Diane Warren deriaritve style. Warren would later the sell “Too Gone, Too Long” as Whitney Houston’s “I Learned From the Best” with similar lyrics. The only change in Houston’s is it’s slower tempo.

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Single Review: En Vogue “Whatever”

Whatever
Year: 1997
Album: EV3

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.

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