Teddy Riley must feel a lot like Dr. Frankenstein these days. He was a prime creative force behind new jack swing, designed to change the world for the better. However, once he let his creation loose upon that world, it was taken advantage of by others. He had created an unstoppable monster.
Riley, the producing wiz behind the first, big, new jack swing hit, Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative,” used this driving musical form to perfection on the 1988 debut of his own band,Guy. Since then, it seems every home-boy and his mother has basically rerecorded “My Prerogative”—and gotten a hit out of it. With The Future, though, Riley and Guy reclaim the title as kings of the swing.
This is what ’90s R&B should sound like, a skillful blend of fast and slow. Foremost, there’s the dance music, with such tunes as the dynamic duo of “Her’ ” and “Wanna Get with U.” The songs percolate with slap-happy percussion as a synthesizer riff whips through the mix. “D-O-G Me Out” is the best George Clinton impression of the year.
Guy gives rap, today’s other musical monster, a nod on the suitably angry “Total Control”; the song works better than most rap because it has real music behind it. Then there are “Let’s Chill” and “Yearning for Your Love,” ballads so smooth they sound the way silk pajamas feel.
Clocking in at 75 minutes or so, The Future also gives you twice as much music as most R&B records do these days. Let’s hope that, like Frankenstein’s monster, Riley’s producing-writing touch will be around for lots of sequels. (Uptown/MCA)