James' Best Protogee Production (Only Four Stars) !
Armando M. Mesa | Chandler, AZ | 07/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mary Jane Girls, Vanity 6, Apollonia 6,...by the mid 80's there was a gamut of sexy, seductive and slick R&B girl groups. The key was to figure out which ones not only looked hot but could actually sing/perform to go with the complete package.Sorry Prince, but Vanity/Appolonia 6 could not hold a candle to the Mary Jane Girls even if you did start your group first... Enter the Mary Jane Girls (complete Rick James a.k.a. Master of Punk Funk's idea or answer for his own girl group project)...Not only did these ladies look hot but man did they have vocal capabilities to match. Listen to their first release from 1983 and they can harmonize a storm reminiscent of the earlier
Motown girl groups of the 60's and 70's ! Lead singer Jo-Jo was the lead for obvious talented reasons.Only Four You unfortunately was their second and last album together. Comparing the first 1983 release to this 1985 production, the overall sound and presentation is much more refined and polished.A little heavy on the electronic-synthesizer and drum machine production but all this is counterbalanced by the vocals and lyrics. In My House is just packed with all the right hooks that made it the big hit it was for the ladies. Another noteworthy track is Shadow Lover which is a jazzed up torch song---very nice! The last three tracks however begin to take on the inevitable filler philosophy. The last three tracks allow the other Mary Jane Girls to do their own lead vocals. By the last track Leather Queen, that's when the fuel or spark had run out. Blonde dominatrix Maxi does some painfully annoying rap-like structured song in which she tries to come off seductive and playful as the stereotypical bimbo a la Marilyn Monroe. One word; AWFUL ! Still, Only Four You is the more memorable Mary Jane Girl album than their debut. It was Rick James truly at the height of his musical empire ! Only Four You gets only four stars."