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Released: 11th November 2002.

TLC - 3D>"You've had your ups and downs
It happened for a reason
Cause after April showers
There will come a change of season"
- Turntable

This album was always going to be one of the biggest of the year. However, while it was originally indented to be released under happier circumstances, the tragic events of April 2002, when bandmember Lisa Lopes was killed in a car accident, meant that this was not possible for "3D". But, following the terrible 'showers' of April, a change of season has, indeed, come for TLC.

Since their debut, "Ooooooohhh... On The TLC Tip", released in 1992, TLC have been one of the biggest names in hip-hop / R&B. They're among the biggest-selling music groups ever, with their second album, "CrazySexyCool", being certified 11 times platinum. The follow-up, "Fan Mail", went six times platinum. Forget the likes of the Spice Girls; if ever there was a super-group, TLC is surely it.

This latest offering is very much what you'd expect from TLC. Musically, it's probably best described as being somewhere between the two previous projects. No expense has been spared on lining up some of the world's hottest producers. Dallas Austin worked on the title track, "3D", "Damaged" and "Quickie", while Darkchild's talent has been put to good work on "Turntable" and "Hey Hey Hey Hey". The Neptunes take over on the infectious, "In Your Arms Tonight", while Missy Elliot performs and produces on the upbeat "Dirty Dirty" and Babyface teams up with Daryl Simmons to work on the stunning "Hands Up".

Fans may, however, be a little disappointed to discover that Lisa appears on this disc, according to my calculations, for little over two minutes in total. The loss of Lisa definitely shows through at times, and the high points are most certainly when all three members come together with amazing results. One such example is the brilliant and original "Quickie", a track very unlike anything recorded before. Another fantastic track featuring Lisa is "Over Me", in which she makes references to the time she burnt down her boyfriend's mansion in 1994.

What's most striking when you listen to this album, though, is the sheer number of potential singles. A personal favourite is the almost slow motion "Hands Up". Also potential candidates are "Turntable", a song with obvious links to Lisa's tragic death, "Dirty Dirty", featuring Missy Elliot, the strangely addictive "Hey Hey Hey Hey" and, of course, the highlight of the album, "Quickie". Finally, there's "Girls Talk", the debut single from "3D". Despite being a good track and definite single material from the album, there are most certainly better choices here for a comeback single.

"3D" is a fantastic comeback album from one of the brightest and impressive groups in the music business today. Though not perfect, this CD, expected to be TLC's last totally original album, will nevertheless ensure that they go out with a bang. Enjoy!

* * * * * (DS)

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