“Girl You Know It’s True” by Milli Vanilli

Before we start, I’m not even going to go into the famous scandal that wrecked this band’s career. For one thing, everyone reading this already knows about it, and for another, no matter who was really singing on those records, it doesn’t change the quality of the music itself. True, Milli Vanilli’s music does sound generally weak and dated today even apart from the scandal, leading many to express confusion on why they were such a big success before that scandal broke. But remember that this act came out of what was possibly the all-time lowest era for popular music, and out of a genre that was generally pretty embarrassing at the best of times. And as New Jack Swing acts that are not named Janet Jackson go, these guys (or at least whoever was really doing their singing) were actually fairly capable compared to, say, New Edition and their various spinoffs or Color Me Badd. The songwriting on this, the group’s signature hit, is fairly uninspired, but the production is quite decent as New Jack Swing goes, and the sentiment the song is built on is actually rather sweet. And if the group’s ghost-vocalists aren’t exactly the world’s most credible rappers, they’re still nowhere near as laughable as Vanilla Ice or Marky Mark or Gerardo. True, not long after this another group in this vein would show up and blow every act I’ve mentioned so far out of the water in terms of quality, but Boyz II Men didn’t really break through until about the time this group’s career-destroying scandal hit the press. So, given that they were actually a significant cut above most of their immediate peers at the time (however little that really says in the grand scheme of things), I don’t find it as baffling as most people that they were initially such a big hit.

Verdict: Incredibly dated and not very good to begin with, but not really any worse than most other New Jack Swing acts, and better than some of them.

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