[REVIEWS] SWV: Still
It's funny how musicians and artists can seemingly vanish for a period of time, and make their way back to music. SWV was one of the biggest and most successful girl bands of the nineties. They maintained a steady stream of hits throughout three albums before disbanding amidst growing troubles within their circle. Mind you, that was 1998 when they released "Release Some Tension". Following their split, Coko moved forward with success in her solo career. She would do a considerable amount in the Gospel circuit before making her way back to SWV.
I can recall some time back around 2005 that there were talks of the group reuniting. We interviewed the ladies around that time, and although they were quite excited about their new prospects, we still didn't see their official reunion until 2012 with the release of "I Missed Us". Released via Mass Appeal and E1, the album didn't do well. Whether It was lack of promotion or otherwise, it just didn't resonate with fans. They soon would embark on an opportunity of having their own reality show aimed at rebuilding their careers as a group. Depending on who you ask, that show may or may not have consistently shown them in the best light, and for some, it left a lot of questions of whether they were truly serious and if they could maintain as a unit. It surely left a lot of skepticism in the minds of music lovers. No one knew what to expect with a new release from the ladies.
“Still” is likely one of the most important albums of SWV’s career. While it was a chance to continue doing what they love, it also served as an opportunity to finally get it right. Releasing an album, and promoting that album to great success takes a great deal of work, arguably more work than what most artists are willing to do. Fact is, many artists from the nineties and prior who return and attempt to rekindle their past success struggle because they aren’t necessarily able, or willing, to do what it takes in today’s climate to make it work. Whether they like it or not, they’re now competing with today’s artists, and that is much the case for SWV.
“Still” represents what some would consider their final shot and putting together a lasting project together. Releasing again through Mass Appeal, the ladies make an indelible mark this time around. What makes Coko, Lelee, & Taj stand out on this new LP is the fact that throughout, they are being themselves. While they may be going for the same success and accolades as their peers, they work on “Still” as though the others don’t exist. They kept with their original style, thus delivering solid hits that fans can groove to for years to come. Each plays their respective lanes perfectly, and for the first time in a long time, they sound like the true unit they were in the beginning. Their sisterhood shines bright as they trade verses one the album’s ten tracks. Favorites on the album for many include the album’s title track, MCE (Man Crush Everyday), Love Song, Ain’t No Man, and Leaving You Alone.
SWV make a strong impact with Still. From the sounds of this album, the ladies will definitely be here for some time to come.