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CrazySexyCool is the second studio album by American R&B/Hip-Hop girl group TLC. Released by LaFace
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Album cover art

Records on November 15, 1994, the album peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 chart and spent over two years on the Billboard album charts. The album spawned two Billboard Hot 100 #1 singles, including the worldwide smash hit "Waterfalls", and earned them two Grammy Awards.

The album was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America, making TLC the first girl group in music history to recieve a Diamond certification.

To date, CrazySexyCool has sold over 23 million, becoming the best-selling album by a girl group in the United States and the second best-selling album worldwide by a girl group, behind the Spice Girls' Spice.

In 2003, the album was ranked at number 377 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It was ranked at number 379 in the updated 2012 version. The album is also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and was listed as a "New Classic" by Entertainment Weekly in 2008.

Background and productionEdit

In March 1994, TLC re-entered recording studios with Dallas Austin, Tim & Bob, Jermaine Dupri, Babyface, Organized Noize and Sean "Puffy" Combs to start production on their then-untitled second studio album.

The album moved away from the rap elements of their previous album, in favor of a smoother, seductive R&B/Soul feel. It relied heavily on the vocals of Tionne Watkins and Rozonda Thomas and less on the raps of Lisa Lopes.

The title refers to the personalities of the members that make up the group; Left Eye representing the "crazy", Chilli representing the "sexy" and T-Boz representing the "cool". Together, the three words make "CrazySexyCool".

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

The album was met with generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics. In his review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine stated that TLC recorded a "smooth, seductive collection of contemporary soul reminiscent of both Philly and Prince" and the material was "consistently strong". He also referred to "Waterfalls" as one o, giving TLCf the "classic R&B songs of the '90s".

Rolling Stone, in their review for The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, stated that TLC "emerged with the most effervescent and soulful girl group R&B anyone had seen since the Supremes".

In 2010, Rolling Stone listed the album at number 93 on their 100 Greatest Albums of the 90s. They stated that "Left Eye, Chilli and T-Boz looked like a one-shot when they first emerged from the nascant Atlanta with 1992's Aint 2 Proud 2 Beg. But CrazySexyCool was a real shocker, packed bumper to bumper with great songs, sassy vocals and voluptuous beats for burning down the house. "Creep" celebrates the kick of illicit lust on the down low, "Waterfalls" digs into Memphis soul and "if I Was Your Girlfriend" does Prince better than The Artist all his decade. The showstopper: "Red Light Special", an impossible steamy make-out ballad that undresses and caresses everyone with ears to hear it. CrazySexyCool established TLC as pop pros wh could do it all, combining the body slam of hip-hop and the giddy uplift of a jump-rope rhyme without breaking a nail."

Commercial performanceEdit

the album peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 chart and spent over two years on the chart.  It was the fifth best-selling album in the United States in 1995 and was eventually certified Diamond and 11x by the Recording Industry Association of America. Internationally, it reached the top 5 of many countries. To date, the album has sold over 23 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling album by a girl group in the United States and the second best-selling album by a girl group worldwide, just behind the Spice Girls' Spice.

SinglesEdit

Four singles were released from the album. "Creep" was released as the album's lead single on October 31, 1994. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks and was one of the biggest selling singles of 1995, coming in at #3 on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Singles of 1995. It also reached #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. "Red Light Special" was released as the second single on February 21, 1995 and was also a success, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #3 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The third single, "Waterfalls", was released on May 29, 1995 and became the most successful songs of TLC's entire career, spending seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and charting within the top 5 in international music markets. The song also became the second biggest selling single of 1995 according to Billboard, giving TLC two songs in the top 3 of the 1995 Billboard Year-End chart. The fourth and final single was "Diggin' on You", which was released on September 20, 1995, and it managed to peak at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Track listingEdit

  1. "Intro-Lude" (featuring Phife Dawg) - 1:01
  2. "Creep" - 4:29
  3. "Kick Your Game" - 4:13
  4. "Diggin' on You" - 4:14
  5. "Case of the Fake People" - 4:03
  6. "CrazySexyCool (interlude)" - 1:42
  7. "Red Light Special" - 5:02
  8. "Watefalls" - 4:39
  9. "Intermission-Lude" - 0:42
  10. "Let's Do It Again" - 4:17
  11. "If I Was Your Girlfriend" - 4:43
  12. "Sexy (interlude) - 1:35
  13. "Take Our Time" - 4:33
  14. "Can I Get a Witness (interlude)" (featuring Busta Rhymes) - 2:57
  15. "Switch" - 3:30
  16. "Sumthin' Wicked This Way Comes" (featuring Dre of OutKast) - 4:23

NotesEdit

  • "Creep" contains a sample from "Hey Young World" as performed by Slick Rick.
  • "Case of The Fake People" contains cover lyrics and interpolations from "Back Stabbers" as performed by The O'Jays
  • "If I was Your Girlfriend" is a cover of "If I Was Your Girlfriend" as written and performed by Prince.
  • "Switch" contains a sample from "Mr. Big Stuff" as performed by Jean Knight.

B-sidesEdit

  • "My Secret Enemy" - 5:34
    • Recorded by Left Eye featuring T-Boz on backing vocals. Released on the "Red Light Special" single.

Awards and nominationsEdit

CrazySexyCool was nominated for six Grammy Awards at the 1996 Grammy Awards. "Waterfalls" was nominated for Record of the Year. Two of the album's nominations were for its songwriters; Dallas Austin for "Creep" and Babyface for "Diggin' on You". TLC ended up winning two awards, one for Best R&B Album and another for Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group for "Creep".

TLC also recieved multiple wins and nominations at the Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards and Soul Train Awards, including Artist of the Year at the 1995 Billboard Music Awards. At the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards, TLC won four awards for the "Waterfalls" music video, including Video of the Year and the Viewer's Choice Award.

PersonnelEdit

  • Sharliss Asbury – project coordinator
  • Dallas Austin – production, instruments, executive producer
  • Bebe – backing vocals
  • André "3000" Benjamin – vocals
  • Bernasky – assistant recording
  • Leslie Brathwaite – recording, mixing
  • Thomas "Cee-Lo Green" Callaway – backing vocals
  • Sean "Puffy" Combs – production, backing vocals
  • Dah Len – photography
  • Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds – production, instruments, executive producer
  • Blake Eiseman – recording
  • Eric Fischer – assistant recording
  • Ronnie Fitch – horns
  • Brian Frye – assistant recording
  • John Frye – recording
  • Dean Gant – keyboards
  • Brad Gilderman – recording
  • Carl Glover – recording, assistant recording, instruments
  • Ron Gresham – mixing
  • Arnold Hennings – production, instruments
  • Lamont Hyde – assistant recording
  • LaMarquis Jefferson – bass
  • Tim Kelley – Producer, Bass, keyboards
  • Debra Killings – backing vocals
  • Scot Little – assistant recording
  • Jerry Lloyd – horns
  • Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes – vocals
  • Trey Lorenz – backing vocals
  • Craig Love – guitar
  • Alex Lowe – assistant recording
  • Rico Lumpkins – assistant recording
  • Jermaine "Dupri" Mauldin – production, recording, mixing, backing vocals
  • Nashiem Myrick – recording
  • Nealhpogue – recording, mixing
  • Charles Nix – horns
  • Organized Noize – production, instruments
  • Mike Patterson – recording, midi and sound design
  • Herb Powers – mastering
  • Antonio "L.A." Reid – executive producer
  • Jon-John Robinson – production, instruments
  • Manuel Seal – production
  • Rick Sheppard – Midi and sound design
  • Shock – horn arrangements
  • Shorty B – guitar
  • Dwight Sills – guitar
  • Davett Singletary – creative direction
  • Ivy Skoff – project coordinator
  • Brian Smith – assistant recording
  • Trevor "Busta Rhymes" Smith, Jr. – vocals
  • Sol Messiah – DJ scratches
  • Alvin Speights – recording, mixing
  • Christopher Stern – art direction
  • Edward Stroud – guitar 
  • Phil Tan – recording, assistant recording, mixing
  • Malik "Phife Dawg" Taylor – vocals
  • Martin Terry – guitar
  • Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas – vocals
  • Carl "Chucky" Thompson – production, instruments
  • Rich Travali – recording, mixing
  • Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins – vocals
  • Dave Way – mixing
  • Mike Wilson – assistant recording
  • Colin Wolfe – bass
  • Kenneth Wrights – keyboards

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