Waterfalls – TLC: THROWBACK THURSDAYS

This week’s Throwback Thursday track of choice is the 90s R&B girl band TLC’s “Waterfalls.”

Who didn’t own TLC’s CrazySexyCool 1994 album? The 1994 hit single “Waterfalls” topped the charts at #1 in the US, and reached #4 in the UK and Australia and continues to be one of the biggest R&B tracks of the 90s era.

 

Track Significance

This song came out when I was 11 years old and I remember it not necessarily for the message portrayed (which went over my head) but for the catchy beat and the appeal of the girl group.

“Waterfalls” was the first track I had heard by TLC and I remember it being huge on the airwaves and on the charts. I think everyone secretly wanted their abs.

 FACT: Did you know Cee-Lo Green was a backup singer on this track?

 

Track Synopsis

At first listen (at least to me) it’s not exactly obvious what the chorus alludes to. A closer listen reveals that the song is a cautionary message warning people to not chase unrealistic dreams and jump into things that are not healthy for your wellbeing – because every action has a consequence.

According to SongFacts:

“The first verse is talking about an inner city mother and son relationship. He is chasing waterfalls (money and respect by dealing drugs), but his mother knows this can only lead to a bad end.

The second verse is talking about a man’s relationship with a woman. His “waterfall” is casual sex. The lyrics say that he has a “natural obsession for temptation.” This could mean he is cheating on someone or the woman he is seeing is cheating on someone. Either way, he contracts HIV and dies (“three letters took him to his final resting place”).

TLC were big on AIDS awareness – Left Eye would often wear condoms attached to her clothes and in her glasses to promote safe sex.

 

Who is TLC?

TLC consisted of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, rapper Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and singer Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas.

 

T-Boz

Tionne (41 years) “T-Boz” Watkins was born in Iowa. As a child, Watkins was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia at the age of seven, Watkins has been in and out of hospitals due to her condition. Tionne’s family moved from Des Moines to Atlanta, Georgia, when she was nine years old. Because of her disease T-Boz was not expected to live past her 30s. In 2009 she revealed that she had been combating a brain tumor for three years which affected her everyday movement -severely limiting her life opportunities.

In August 2000, T-Boz married rapper Mack 10. The couple’s daughter, Chase Anela Rolison, was born on October 20, 2000. Four years later they divorced and a restraining order was taken out by Watkins.

She has had some success in television and film appearing in “Belly,” being the executive producer for film “ATL,” and as a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice.”

 

Left Eye

Lisa Nicole Lopes (died age 30) was born in Philadelphia had a troubled childhood and was addicted to alcohol from her teenage years.

Left Eye made the headlines when she set fire to boyfriend Andre Rison’s tennis shoes in a bathtub, which ultimately spread to the mansion they shared, destroying it. Lopes claimed that Rison had beaten her after a night out, and she set fire to his shoes to get back at him. She later revealed that she did not have a lot of freedom within the relationship and was abused mentally and physically, having released all her frustrations on the night of the fire.

On April 25, 2002 in Honduras, Left Eye collided head on into another vehicle and tragically died.

 

Chilli

Rozonda Ocelean Thomas (41 years), was born in Atlanta, Georgia and didn’t get to know her father until 1996 where it was aired on Sally Jesse Raphael.   

In 1991, she joined TLC, replacing founding member Crystal Jones, and was nicknamed “Chilli” so that the group could retain the name TLC. 

Post TLC she didn’t have great success as a solo artist – however she did has made television appearances and had her own reality TV show which aired in 2009 and 2011 titled “What Chilli Wants”  where she sought love.

Chilli had a son with music producer Dallas Austin in 1997, they split and she later paired up with R&B king Usher Raymond and broke up in 2004.

 

Music Video

The music video was a very expensive production due to the technological advances in the altering of the effects. “Waterfalls” depicts drug dealing as per the first verse and HIV in the third and fourth verses. When you watch the music video you understand the message they are trying to portray visually.

It’s a very impressive video and was very advanced for the time it was released.

 

Lyrics

“Waterfalls”

TLC

 

A lonely mother gazing out of the window
Staring at her 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 his self out of trouble
So he goes out and he makes his money the best way he knows how
Another body layin’ cold in the gutter

[Chorus]
Listen to me
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

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 is good to me”

One day he goes and take a glimpse in the mirror
But he doesn’t recognize his own face
His health is fading and he doesn?t know why
3 letters took him to his final resting place
[Chorus]
Y’all, don’t you hear me?
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
[Chorus]
Y’all, don’t you hear me?
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
Come on

I seen a rainbow yesterday but too many storms have come and gone
Leaving a trace of not one God giving ray
Is it because my life is ten shades of grey?
I pray, all ten fade away, seldom praise him for the seven days

And like his promise is true
Only my faith can undo the many chances I blew to bring my life to anew
Clear and 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 them in the pourin’ rain
Who’s to blame for tootin? caine into your own vein

What a shame, you shoot and aim for someone else’s blame
You claim the insane for this day
And 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]
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

-ELyrics




Miss Fancye

xo

 

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