Dear En Vogue,
When your debut album Born to Sing was released in 1990, America fell in love with you ― four angels who formed a group in Oakland, California! Maybe it was your crossover appeal, or maybe it was the way you carried your notes, or maybe it was your “street wise yet sophisticated” brand of sex appeal. Whatever it was, we are miss it and most importantly, we miss you!
We were instantly seduced with your blend of the Jackson 5’s “Who’s Lovin’ You” and James Brown’s “The Payback,” a hybrid better known to the masses as “Hold On.” We fell deeper into our infatuation with the hits that followed, such as “Lies” and “You Don’t Have to Worry.”
We looked on with pride as you continued to conquer the pop, R&B and dance charts with the onslaught of goodies from 1992’s Funky Divas. Refusing to be confined to one genre, you graced us with the empowering “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It),” the reggae-flavored “Desire,” the sexy remake of “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” the guitar grooves of “Free Your Mind,” the old-school flavor of “Give It Up, Turn It Loose” and others. We never got enough of you at your peak, and made sure to tune in when you guest starred on In Living Color, Roc and A Different World.
The long break in between Funky Divas and EV3 was torturous! For nearly four years, the only notable offerings we got were the now classic “Whatta Man” with Salt-N-Pepa and “Runaway Love,” and Terry Ellis’ solo effort, Southern Gal. We saw you return as a quartet, but it was short lived! “Don’t Let Go (Love)” became one of your biggest hits, but it was the last single to feature Dawn Robinson, who would leave the group to strike out solo and eventually perform with Lucy Pearl.
Since that time, things have been far from what they were. There have been albums featuring a partial En Vogue, sometimes with rotating members, but never the core four. We’ve been teased with one-off performances, the occasional mini-tours and teases of a reunion being in the works. With each bit of news, we salivate for a new album and a return to that ’90s golden era of girl groups, of which you were the queens.
No girl group that followed could take your place or match your pizzazz. Though many tried and many credited you as inspiration, none could quite hold a candle to what you brought to the table, which was a healthy dose of style, talent and personality.
It is for these reasons that we miss you and think you would be successful today. Not only is there a girl group niche that needs filling, but other stars from your era, such as Johnny Gill, Karyn White and SWV, are releasing new music and fans of all ages are receptive. If you, En Vogue, said your core four members were getting back together and that a new album would be released on a specific date, it would be as though the heavens had opened up for a second time. We’d love to have another frame of time where you, the ladies of En Vogue, realize you were indeed born to sing and shared your talent with the much appreciative music-loving world.
Joel Lyons is a New York City-based aficionado of Dance, Pop and R&B. Experience his appreciation at www.ThatsMyJam.net and on Twitter @onlyONscripting.