Album of the Week: LaFace’s Boomerang Soundtrack (1992)

This is an album with Eddie Murphy on the cover. And that’s okay.

I wrote a couple months ago about Babyface’s Tender Lover, and how I adore Face and his music. As half of LaFace, he produced TLC, Toni Braxton and others. Babyface would later write and produce the classic Waiting to Exhale soundtrack, but I believe Boomerang was his first compilation album. I haven’t seen Boomerang the movie, which is a romantic comedy directed by Reginald Hudlin (who wrote and directed Kid N Play’s House Party) starring Eddie Murphy as a Casanova who may have finally met his match! But don’t quote me on that, like I said I haven’t seen it.

7 of the 12 songs on this soundtrack album were written and/or produced by Babyface. These include the smash opener “Give U My Heart”, a Toni Braxton duet with an amazingly 90s music video, Johnny Gill’s silky-smooth “There U Go” (oh!), and “End of the Road” – perhaps Babyface’s biggest hit of all-time. “End of the Road” is a weird one: melodically, it’s cripplingly beautiful. Even a YouTube piano tutorial of this song is enough to make me glassy-eyed. Depending on your tolerance for the saccharine you may or may not be able to endure its minor-key mushiness. But the reason I say it’s weird is because of the lyrics. The guys in Boyz II Men are essentially refusing to accept the ending of a relationship, and there is a spoken section that gets uncomfortably clingy. Let’s not bring that toxic energy into 2022, kings!

I also really like “Reversal of a Dog” by LaFace Cartel, which is essentially a pseudonym for Babyface and TLC. Left Eye does her thing, it’s a banger! Outside of the Babyface tracks, we have a great Aaron Hall and Charlie Wilson collab (shoutout Gap Band!), a P.M. Dawn ballad, a slinky Grace Jones track, a breezy a capella from one Kenny Vaughan, and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Hot Sex”. This track, which also appears on Tribe’s The Anthology compilation (but none of their albums proper) is perhaps most notable for Q-Tip’s “Where ya at!” line – one that’s been sampled many times. It’s not one of Tribe’s greatest songs, but I like the Phife verse a lot.

Excellent album right here. I wonder if Eddie Murphy listens to it. I know if my face were on the cover of a Babyface record it would be my most cherished possession.

Listen to Boomerang here.