Album of the Week: Az Yet’s s/t (1996)

Wtf happened last night? Oh, that’s right… Az Yet were making love… to you.

Even though most of the disembodied faces on the album cover look like they just dropped their phone in a sewer grate, Az Yet deliver the goods on their self-titled debut. Some people really can’t stomach the kind of intensely saccharine R&B heard on the opener “Last Night”, and I get that. But Babyface wrote or co-wrote 7/12 of these songs (I should also mention Keith Andes is credited on 5 of those), and he was no slouch in the 90s! While “Last Night” is not my favorite track on the album, it has the winning Babyface touch and reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Elsewhere, Babyface’s “Care For Me” glides with the same slow-jam arranging that carried tracks like “Red Light Special” and “Rock Wit’cha”. Singer Marc Nelson (the Chris Paul-looking dude on the cover) had previously been in Boyz II Men, which comes through on the almost acapella “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”, which was written by and features Chicago’s Peter Cetera (what?). “Secrets” is another standout jam, courtesy of the legend Jon B. “Sadder Than Blue” takes the vibe into more jazzy hip-hop territory to good results.

I’m not really sure what happened to Az Yet, they seem to have gone fairly quiet after this album and then resurfaced 10 and 20 years later with follow-ups. I wouldn’t recommend it to Babyface n00bs as the place to start, but Az Yet is yet another winner on his CV.

Listen to Az Yet here.

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