So, I was on SoundCloud recently, minding my own blackass business, then I decided to see what June’s Diary was up to. I knew they released a few records last year around this time (“All Of Us,” “It’s Alright,” and “L.A.N.C.E.”) and recently released a slut shaming, problematic record entitled “Ratchet Life” and a cover of Jodeci’s “Stay.” So, I go to their page and see a collection of six songs, an EP actually, entitled Male Edition. I automatically side eyed because I knew it was a collection of 6 covers and I was done with them covering. They’ve been covering from inception, including “Hot Line Bling,” which they did a great job on. I thought to myself “give it a chance,” so I did.
I look at the track listing and instantly got annoyed. Now, while the oldest member of June’s Diary is almost 30, the youngest is still a very young 20 and I knew them covering artists such as The Beatles and Bel Biv Devoe was not going to come off as authentic, as a group, as it should and I was right.
OK, so let’s back up. The EP starts with Shai’s “If I ever Fall In Love.” To start with a positive, their harmonies are so ON POINT on this record. It’s something they haven’t always pushed forward on some of their songs like “All Of Us” and “L.A.N.C.E.,” though if you watched their BET documentary show, you know they are more than capable. The problem is that the lead vocals do not capture the passion that the original version had. Also, I get for them it was more of an introductory track, but if you’re going to cover the record, please cover the whole song or don’t do it at all. I give the song 2.5 out of 5, If you give us half a song, you get half the credit.
The next track was “Stay.” “Stay” was promoted as their single a while back and while I like the song, I always had my qualms with it. For one, I wish Gabby was given more opportunity to sing on this record, instead of doing the talking after the a’capella intro- keep in mind, there was plenty of room for her to do just that on the record. Secondly, there are still parts during the ad libs where the passion of the original aren’t there. I’m not saying they should sound like the original, but if you can’t match or exceed the passion behind the record, leave it alone. It’s not a single individual who made the mess up- even during the bridge where the group sings, the passion is lackluster. On a positive, I love the modern beat to the record and Lyndriette really pulled it all together for the group. When it comes to passion, she embodied it. This record gets a 3.5 out of 5 because while the song lacks passion, it is still enjoyable.
The next track is “Poison,” originally performed by Bel Biv Devoe. This was a complete dud. There is no reason they should have touched this record. It doesn’t even make sense for them to record this record. MAYBE a young male R&B group could pull it off, but the track just sounded…pointless. Same original beat without the originality. I give it a 1 out of 5 only because I can’t give it a 0.
“Two Occasions,” a cover of The Deele’s record, is the ext song. The song is cute. The vocals are light and so is the beat, so it didn’t require as much passion as the others. It also didn’t require such as “masculine” presence like “Poison” did, so they didn’t sound as out of place. Still, the song sounded like a place holder and didn’t really showcase them vocally. Like “Stay,” it’s an enjoyable ride out record so I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
Next, the covered “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. They just sung the lyrics so I’m just gonna give them a 2 out of 5. This was another throwaway track and I dunno why they did it. You don’t cover classics when you don’t match up.
Lastly, they covered Jagged Edge’s “Where The Party At (feat. Nelly),” which is probably the only song the youngest member in the group even remembers. Still, I don’t get it. They sound like really good karaoke artists at best on this record. The producer pretty much used the same exact original beat, just as it was done on “Poison.” The best thing about the song was at the end, the played a clip of the original song, before blending it back with their vocals. I give it a 2.5 out of 5 for effort.
Overall, I give the EP a 2.5 out of 5. That should tell you this- don’t come half way and expect full results. For the most part, the EP just came off as disingenuous. I really want them to win (especially Lyndriette since I’ve been keeping up with her since RichGirl), but this isn’t it.
Firstly, these records aren’t working. Lyndriette is a songwriter, and I don’t know if their taking advantage of that. If they did, they’d be able to come up with more personal material. Secondly, these cover songs don’t have anything about them that stands out. Not the beats or the energy. I get that this is their Male Edition EP (which is making me cringe at the thought of them doing another EP, and I know Female Edition is next) and they wanted to pay homage, but for an R&B girl group, especially NOW in this political climate, them putting out an EP of covers of male groups from the 70s, 80s and 90sjust ain’t it- especially when they weren’t around for most of those songs. I get you can be inspired by artists who come before you. I was greatly inspired by Prince. The problem is I don’t see any of that in what they’ve delivered thus far. Now, I don’t want them to do another EP of covers, but they could have at least just done an EP of R&B girl groups who came before them, study them and embody them in their music. I think it’s good that they’re taking their time to perfect their craft, but they had a year to get it together and I hope this is not a litmus test of what we can expect in the future.
I don’t think the project is worth a listen, but if you’re craving for anything from June’s Diary, they have delivered!
PS: They have a song called “Wrap Around,” an R&B song about looking for companionship and it KNOCKS. This is more of what they should be doing. The harmonies on the song are on point, they all share in leads and it’s a real feel good song with a very smooth beat. I could have sworn when I first looked on their SoundCloud page, “Wrap Around” was listed as a part of the EP, but it’s not there. Still, you can check out the video of them performing the song below.