New Edition is one of my favorite groups ever because of course, they are. “Can You Stand the Rain” is one of the greatest songs of all time because of course, it is. There’s a reason why BET’s The New Edition Story was such an event. Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph—and Johnny, too, have been a part of my life since the ’80s and will be for the rest of my life. In fact, one of my favorite conversations ever is this: What is the definitive New Edition song? Your answer probably depends on if you view the original lineup with Bobby or the one with Johnny as your barometer, in which case, the debate usually comes down to “Candy Girl” (or even “Mr. Telephone Man”) versus “Can You Stand the Rain.” My pick is the latter.
While those songs are quintessential NE, they have a bevy of songs that are equally as good if not quite as iconic. For instance, “If It Isn’t Love” would whip your favorite song’s ass six days a week and twice on Sundays. FIGHT ME, BRO. “Crucial” is crucial. Heheheheh. My favorite by NE, though, is the Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis-helmed “You’re Not My Kind of Girl.” I cannot stress enough how much I love this song, but I’m only about 200 words in, so I will sure as hell try.
New Edition, “You’re Not My Kind of Girl” (1988)
I love this song like Drake loves being a spectacle on the sidelines of Raptors games and maybe even more than Drake loves Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. In case you decided not to click that link, Drake has tattoos dedicated to both Golden State Warriors players. I love this song like Beyoncé loves making her new albums an event and fucking up the game and inspiring books and college courses.
Hell, I even love the video (the album version is different than the video version), which kind of has not a single thing to do with the song. It’s a concert performance video where they’re all dressed in white military-style outfits, which is kind of smart, if you think about it. Maybe they didn’t want to have a video of Ralph turning down various version of the “perfect woman” in a “it’s not you, it’s me” kind of way while the homies look on and think he’s crazy in a reverse “Count Me Out” video-style. On second thought, that sounds awesome and I’d like to request a new video for 2019.
You know what else I always found funny about the Johnny Gill-version of New Edition? The whole reason the addition of Johnny was able to work is because he was willing to take a background role and not present a challenge to Ralph as the lead, especially after Ralph sacrificed his personal career (and more money) for the sake of the group and he wasn’t consulted about adding Johnny. And yet, Johnny’s footprint is all over every song he gets on. Especially “You’re Not My Kind of Girl.” Johnny’s backing runs and vocals are all over the song and give it that extra flavor. You just can’t stifle that voice. I’d argue that he makes the song so perfect.
With all of this beauteousness in one place, this is my kind of song.
I’ll see myself out.