Song of the Day #5,047: ‘Waterfalls’ – TLC

I missed out on a lot of popular music in the 90s, whether it came from grunge acts or boy bands. I spent some time on alternative pop acts (see Toad the Wet Sprocket, Hootie, Gin Blossom, etc.) but otherwise I spent that decade following my personal faves that were largely out of the mainstream.

That’s why I completely missed out on TLC’s CrazySexyCool, the first-ever album by a girl group to reach Diamond status in the U.S. This R&B smash placed five singles in Billboard’s top five (two at #1) and ultimately sold 15 million copies worldwide.

I’m certainly familiar with the album’s biggest hit, ‘Waterfalls,’ and passingly familiar with the other #1, ‘Creep,’ but the rest of this album was brand-new to me.

CrazySexyCool was TLC’s sophomore album, and a big leap creatively from their 1992 debut. The album was recorded in the wake of band member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ arrest for setting fire to her boyfriend’s house, but the trio didn’t let the controversy get in the way of greatness.

I’m not a big R&B guy generally, but I really enjoyed the sound and flow of this album. The blend of voices, hip-hop elements, and strong production by Babyface, Sean Combs, Jermaine Dupri and others, help it stand out.

The trio would release one more album in the 90s, 1999’s multi-platinum FanMail, but were rocked by the car accident death of Lopes in 2002. Remaining members Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins carried on, dropping two more albums as a duo with diminishing returns.

[Verse 1: T-Boz]
A lonely mother gazing out of the window
Staring at a son that she just can’t touch
If at any time, he’s in a jam, she’ll be by his side
But he doesn’t realize he hurts her so much
But all the praying just ain’t helping at all
‘Cause he can’t seem to keep hisself out of trouble
So he goes out and he makes his money the best way he knows how
Another body laying cold in the gutter
Listen to me

[Chorus: TLC]
Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to
I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all
But I think you’re moving too fast

[Verse 2: T-Boz]
Little precious has a natural obsession for temptation
But he just can’t see
She gives him loving that his body can’t handle
But all he can say is, “Baby, it’s good to me”
One day, he goes and takes a glimpse in the mirror
But he doesn’t recognize his own face
His health is fading, and he doesn’t know why
Three letters took him to his final resting place
Y’all don’t hear me

[Chorus: TLC (Chilli)]
Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to
I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all
(Your way or no way)
But I think you’re moving too fast
Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to
I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all
But I think you’re moving too fast

[Verse 3: Left Eye]
Come on!
I seen a rainbow yesterday, but too many storms
Have come and gone, leaving a trace of not one God-given ray
Is it because my life is ten shades of gray, I pray
All ten fade away, seldom praise Him for the sunny days
And like His promise is true, only my faith can undo
The many chances I blew to bring my life to anew
Clear blue and unconditional skies
Have dried the tears from my eyes, no more lonely cries
My only bleeding hope is for the folk who can’t cope
With such an endurin’ pain that it keeps ’em in the pourin’ rain
Who’s to blame for tooting ‘caine into your own vein?
What a shame, you shoot and aim for someone else’s brain
You claim the insane, and name this day in time
For falling prey to crime
I say the system’s got you victim to your own mind
Dreams are hopeless aspirations in hopes of coming true
Believe in yourself, the rest is up to me and you

[Chorus: TLC (Chilli)]
Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to
I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all
But I think you’re moving too fast
Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to
I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all
But I think you’re movin’ too fast (Ooh, you’re movin’ too fast)
Don’t go chasing waterfalls (Don’t go, don’t go)
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to
I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all
(I know, I know, your way hey)
But I think you’re moving too fast

One thought on “Song of the Day #5,047: ‘Waterfalls’ – TLC

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I, of course, know this song quite well. It has a hook in the chorus that, for better or worse, can play on an endless loop in my head. Don’t think I’m familiar with much else from them.

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