’90s No. 1s Revisited: “I Adore Mi Amor”
The forty-sixth No. 1 song of the 1990s was “I Adore Mi Amor” by Color Me Badd. This melting-pot quartet from Oklahoma debuted a few months prior to “I Adore Mi Amor” with the big hit “I Wanna Sex You Up,” a risque single from the New Jack City soundtrack that peaked at No. 2 and spent four weeks there, kept from the top by “More Than Words” by Extreme and “Rush Rush” by Paula Abdul. With a naughty reputation, the group then released “I Adore Mi Amor,” an admittedly corny but cleverly titled bilingual ballad.
Color Me Badd had boy band characteristics, but their target audience was a few years older than that of New Kids on the Block — which is to say high-schoolers instead of middle-schoolers. “I Adore Mi Amor” was the first of two No. 1 singles the group scored, and they charted 12 songs on the Hot 100 in all, starting in 1991 and ending in 1998. Some are quite good. Our favorite is “Choose,” which peaked at No. 21 and was one of the best songs of 1994. We also liked “Slow Motion,” “Thinkin’ Back” and “Forever Love,” all about the impact of the passage of time on their sex lives. The three remaining members of the group are on tour as of this writing.
Let’s listen to “I Adore Mi Amor”:
Stupid video aside, there are some nice attributes to this track. The harmonies are smooth, and the voices blend well together. There’s some originality to the arrangement, such as the sparseness of the percussion and bass line in the verses and bridges. Also we should acknowledge that the liberal use of Spanish was interesting and a tad envelope-pushing for a mainstream single. However, aside from all those analytical observations, all this track really ends up amounting to is a slow, drippy and somewhat dull serenade.
Was it dope? This is a complex question. Beavis and Butt-Head certainly didn’t think so. The easiest response would be to smugly lay back and scoff at Color Me Badd, dismissing their music as dumb crap nobody with any taste would’ve liked. Not sure it’s quite that simple, though. The group had an interesting professional arc. With “I Wanna Sex You Up,” they painted themselves as dirty guys who wanted to get some action in an office broom closet. With “I Adore Mi Amor,” they retouched themselves to seem more romantic. The sharp turn in their image came, as we remember it, with the follow-up to “Mi Amor,” the No. 1 single “All 4 Love,” which we’ll be discussing in greater detail eight posts from now. That song and video had a very cleaned-up, G-rated, Jackson 5 vibe, with a campy, colorful video that featured bad synchronized choreography. So “All 4 Love” dulled some of the sharp edges of the group. Nevertheless, they released good music sporadically for seven years, and that’s not easy to do, especially in the particular seven years during which they were active. They survived Grunge, Gangsta Rap and even Lilith Fair. All that said, can we really listen to “I Adore Mi Amor,” look you in the eye and say, yes, that was dope? Not really.
Does it hold up? Of any act from this early ’90s era, Color Me Badd may hold up the least. Everything about this effort is painfully dated, from the harmonies to the production to the lyrics to the fashions to the music video direction to the very essence of the group’s existence, a cheesy brand of “ladies’ man” R&B. And, in fact, Color Me Badd was the obvious inspiration for a trio of videos for SNL by Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake in 2006-2011. The unfortunate consequence of all this is that Color Me Badd’s talents and achievements are undervalued. Regarding this particular track, however, we’re satisfied leaving it back in 1991. We never much cared for it But we hope people will take some time to comb through Color Me Badd’s other releases, especially the aforementioned “Choose,” because there are hidden gems in their discography.
Dopeness: 2 out of 5 Birkenstocks
Color Me Badd
“I Adore Mi Amor”
2 weeks at No. 1, starting Sept. 21, 1991
Preceded by: “The Promise Of A New Day,” Paula Abdul
Followed by: “Good Vibrations,” Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch f/ Loleatta Holloway
’90s No. 1s Revisited is a regular feature on “Was It Dope?” where we walk through every No. 1 song of the 1990s on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in order, give it another listen, and answer two critical questions: Was it dope? And does it hold up?