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20

R&B - Released October 11, 2013 | Epic

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The sticker on the front of TLC 20 proclaims "Music inspired by VH1's film CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story," which is neither actual nor factual. With the exception of one new song, "Meant to Be" -- a pleasant ballad co-written by Ne-Yo -- these songs were released during the early '90s through the early 2000s, long before the film was conceived. Keke Palmer, who portrayed Chilli, wasn't born until over a year after the release of Ooooooohhh...On the TLC Tip. Regardless, this set is a decent introduction to one of the biggest pop groups of the '90s. Released a week ahead of the film's premiere, it features all nine of the group's Hot 100 Top Ten singles, from 1992's "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" through 1999's "Unpretty," along with a handful of relatively minor hits, album cuts, and the new song. It could have gone deeper -- as deep as the 19-track Now & Forever: The Hits (2003), at least. There's much more to enjoy beyond what's here. The group made three of the best '90s pop-R&B albums, and 2002's 3D was no embarrassment. ~ Andy Kellman
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R&B - Released November 14, 1994 | Arista - LaFace Records

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R&B - Released February 22, 1999 | Arista - LaFace Records

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R&B - Released February 22, 1999 | Arista - LaFace Records

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R&B - Released January 1, 2017 | LaFace - Legacy

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Pop - Released January 27, 2014 | Arista

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R&B - Released February 25, 1992 | Arista - LaFace Records

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3D

R&B - Released November 11, 2002 | Arista

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Soul - Released February 21, 2018 | Straight To The Top Music

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3D

R&B - Released November 12, 2002 | Arista

How good is TLC? So good that they survive the tragic, early death of a key member -- Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes was killed in a car accident during the recording of 3D -- with grace and style, turning out a record that sits comfortably next to their modern classics, Crazysexycool and FanMail. Perhaps surviving members Chilli and T-Boz spend a little too much time in the lyrics paying tribute to their colleague, but it's easy to glide past that and just concentrate on the strong songwriting and stylish production. Like their previous albums, the particulars don't matter as much as the overall impression. No member of TLC has an astounding voice, but their skills are exploited to the hilt, since the material not only suits them, it's melodic, memorable, and grows in stature with each play. Best of all, the production plays to the strength of the song, balancing the group's character and abilities with the hooks and character of the song. Perhaps 3D doesn't blaze trails like their other albums, but it never plays it safe and it always satisfies, and it's one of the best modern soul albums of 2002. A bittersweet triumph, perhaps, but it's better to go out on a positive note. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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R&B - Released January 1, 2017 | LaFace - Legacy

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R&B - Released January 1, 2017 | LaFace - Legacy

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R&B - Released January 1, 2017 | LaFace - Legacy

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R&B - Released July 24, 1992 | LaFace - Legacy

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