Album Review: “I Missed Us” – SWV



Mass Appeal Entertainment/E1 Music

Release Date: April 17, 2012

One of the few R&B groups that is still together, Grammy-nominated New York natives Sisters With Voices (better known as SWV) are back with their fourth studio album, I Missed Us.  This, their first album since 1997’s gold-certified Release Some Tension, is not only the trio’s first album in 15 years, but also marks 20 years since they debuted in 1992 with their triple-platinum selling album, It’s About Time.  And in true SWV fashion, the group doesn’t sound like they’ve missed a beat in the 15 years since they last recorded together.

Predominantly produced by Lamb (primarily known for his work with Jazmine Sullivan and Monica, as well as Keyshia Cole’s “Let It Go” and Beyoncé’s “Countdown”), I Missed Us showcases Coko, LeLee and Taj in excellent vocal shape.  Lamb managed to craft a set full of songs that accomplishes what would be seemingly difficult: maintain the classic SWV sound, tie in a welcomed ‘90s soul sensibility, all while making the music sound current, not dated.  All three goals were achieved with fantastic results.  The album’s lead single, “Co-Sign,” is an excellent moniker for what can be expected for the entire duration of the album.  Other highlights, like the title track, “Show Off,” “Better Than I,” “Use Me” and “Love Unconditionally,” show that SWV is still just as great as they were when we last heard them.

One of the most stunning moments here is the album’s closing track—a cover of Patti LaBelle’s 1983 #1 R&B classic, “If Only You Knew.”  Lead singer Coko is nothing short of spellbinding and chill-inducing as she takes the forefront on the record, taking listeners on an epic vocal journey that builds steadily over the course of 5 minutes.  A Target exclusive, extended version of the album contains three bonus tracks, including a remix of “Co-Sign” and a cover of “There’ll Never Be”—a 1978 classic originally recorded by Ohio funk band, Switch.  As with the LaBelle cover, the Switch cover is yet another standout.

I Missed Us is an excellent album from start to finish, and in what some have described as an R&B drought, this return by one of the genre’s most beloved groups was overwhelmingly necessary.  So far, it reigns as the year’s best R&B album.  Hopefully, it won’t take another 15 years before we have another album from these talented veterans.

Grade: A

Michael Hamilton

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