By Noah Hubbell
By Leslie Simon
By Brad Lopez
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Inkoo Kang
By Dave Herrerra
By Josiah M. Hesse
Actually, the tracks cut by Jodeci (the word is a conflation of the foursome's names) haven't always been so fleshy. The group's 1991 debut disc, Forever My Lady, sold 3 million copies largely on the strength of the single "Come & Talk to Me" and the title cut, a ballad that includes the lyric "There's nothing more precious/Than to raise a family." But rather than follow Boyz II Men into the land of spiritual chastity and sweater vests, Jodeci offered up Diary of a Mad Band, a considerably randier platter whose content led to sniping from the usual collection of cultural puritans. These complaints increased in 1993, when DeVante and K-Ci pleaded guilty to gun charges and sexual contact, respectively, following a wrongheaded encounter with a woman they picked up at a Manhattan club. Since then, the singers have tried to tidy up their image by getting involved in an organization called urbanAID for LIFEbeat, which focuses on increasing AIDS awareness among teens. Mr. Dalvin sees no contradiction between these efforts and the tunes on The Show, in which sex with all comers seems as casual as an episode of Mister Rogers.
"We meet a lot of people, and they tell us stuff like, `Yeah, me and my girlfriend make love to your music all the time,'" he says. "And we're like, that's fine, if that's what you want to do. You make up your own mind about that. But if you're going to do it, wear a condom. And we need to say stuff like that, because we have a lot of young fans between 12 and 25. We need to be responsible.
"That doesn't mean we're trying to be role models, though. I don't think anyone should have a role model who's a sports figure or someone in the entertainment business that they've never met. Because those people have to live their lives, too. It's hard when everybody just latches on to you and expects you to walk the straight and narrow all the time. Nobody can do that. Everybody has to let their guard down sometimes, right? Doesn't everybody have the right to have fun?"
Jodeci exercises that right throughout The Show--and the knee-jerk hedonism that's the byproduct of this privilege makes the disc infinitely more enjoyable and considerably less self-conscious than the work of most other current R&B harmony acts. Appropriately, the recording's success has inspired the quartet to branch out, with separate production companies and the like (Mr. Dalvin's firm, Clownin', landed a song on the rapid-selling soundtrack to the film Dangerous Minds). "We're involved in everything we do business-wise, from the music to the artwork on the album to the videos," he says. "I even make all of the clothes that we wear. And we have to deal with accountants and all those kinds of people. I never expected how much work all of this was going to be."
Fortunately, there are compensations. "We just like to talk about lovemaking," Mr. Dalvin concedes. "We like talking about lovemaking a lot. We'd talk about lovemaking whether we got paid or not. But it's nice getting paid."
Jodeci, with Mary J. Blige, Notorious B.I.G., the Bad Boy Family, Faith, Total, Craig Mack, the Junior M.A.F.I.A., Puff Daddy, Naughty by Nature, Adina Howard, Luniz. 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, McNichols Arena, $25-$30, 830-