The two-disc Gold
is somewhat like 2004's Hits
and 1996's New Edition Solo Hits
combined into one package, albeit with some updating. Rather than separate the group hits from the solo hits, it runs in chronological order. So, for instance, Bobby Brown's "Don't Be Cruel" and "My Prerogative" come after "If It Isn't Love" and before "Can You Stand the Rain," and Bell Biv DeVoe
's "Poison" falls between Brown's "On Our Own" and Johnny Gill's "Rub You the Right Way." While each member had significant success away from the group -- either solo or with Bell Biv DeVoe -- the link to New Edition
was always intrinsic, so the compilation does play out like a thorough history of New Edition from 1984 through 1997. That means, unfortunately, that the hits from 1983's Candy Girl
("Candy Girl," "Is This the End," "Jealous Girl," "Popcorn Love") are missing, which was likely a rights issue (the album came out on Warlock, before MCA saw the horizon of platinum and snapped up the group). Despite that problem, Gold
is a convenient way to obtain some of the best R&B singles of the '80s and early '90s, whether in the form of ballads ("Can You Stand the Rain," "When Will I See You Smile Again"), laid-back strutters ("Sensitivity," "Don't Be Cruel," the Ray Parker, Jr.
-written "Mr. Telephone Man"), or party jams ("Poison," "Cool It Now," "Rub You the Right Way"). In a rather ironic twist, the members' hits outside the group have held up a lot better than the ones they recorded while in it. "If It Isn't Love" at least shows where Ronnie
, Johnny, Ricky
, and Ralph really
turned a corner and became something more than a boy band. That song, more than any other selection here, bundles up everything that was good about New Edition (as well as producers Jimmy Jam
and Terry Lewis
) into four minutes.