RATING: 3 CHET BAKERS
While looking through Amazon's MP3 site the other day, I came across this EP for a new R&B group named "Hamilton Park". I had never heard of them before, but the EP was priced at a nice $2.99 and included two singles, two videos and a PDF digital booklet. At that price and with the videos as a bonus, I grabbed it figuring even if I didn't like it, it would be fine because I hadn't invested that much.
I was pleasantly surprised though. While watching their video for "Computer Love", I found myself being reminded of some of the 90's era R&B groups, specifically Blackstreet. Watching them sing, and dance and go through the motions that we all have come to expect in a male group video, I found myself drawing that comparison to Blackstreet, which I think was one of the better groups of that decade, along with Boyz II Men.
The video was kind of nice, with the story of it being these kids are getting an audition for Andre Harrell who discovered Diddy, and Mary J. Blige among others. So Harrell gets there, and then they start their performance of "Computer Love", while two women are outside the room, one filming it on her iphone.
The EP comes with the songs "Computer Love" and "This Thing Called Us", plus the video for "Computer Love" and the Behind the Scenes filming of that video.
MORE AFTER THE BREAK
Overall I liked it. At times they do tend to sound like just about every other group out there, but I think their singing is definitely up to the job, and just going on these two songs in the EP, I think they have the talent to have a very good career. We've unfortunately seen many male groups come and go while managing to put out one or two albums, with one or two hits and then fading away. Hopefully Hamilton Park will not be that, and will be able to push their way through the pack and show what they have to offer.
These days though, you have to come with something that will differentiate yourself from everyone else. One of the reasons I don't listen to a lot of music these days (new music, that is) is because everything sounds the same. Often I can listen to any male group or female group (or individual artists) and aside from a select few, they all sound the same. They're all produced the same, they all have that same feel to it.
There's no originality anymore. Where is this era's Blackstreet? Where is this era's Shai? Where is this era's Boyz II Men?
I think that one thing that Hamilton Park has that I liked is that, at least based on these first two tracks, is that they are for the most part clean. They're singing love songs, but they're not raunchy. They're more Boyz II Men and less Jodeci. Nothing wrong with that style if that' what you're into. But these days it seems everyone jumps right to that, because it's what's expected. Hopefully Hamilton Park can carve out their own niche, while bringing back the more love oriented R&B, rather than the sex drenched style.