“On their second album, the multiplatinum trio TLC have given up most of their debut’s tomfoolery” (Wolk) and “made a Girlz II Women quantum leap” (Erlewine), “applying mid-‘90s urban pop sophistication to become the smartest female trio since Diana Ross led the Supremes” (Blender). While still “watered and nurtured in hip-hop culture” (Wolk), TLC “downplay their overt rap connections, recording a smooth, seductive collection of” (Erlewine) “very modern deep Southern soul” (Wolk) “reminiscent of both Philly soul and Prince, powered by new jack and hip-hop beats” (Erlewine).
“Their spare, surprising arrangements rely on the kind of live instrumentation they single-handedly brought back in style. Lyrically, CrazySexyCool concentrates on love at the point when it’s grown deeper but also more frustrating – for every great love song there’s a great cheating song – and the group's singing and rapping balances sassiness with depth and nuance” (Wolk).
“Lisa Lopes contributes the occasional rap, but the majority of CrazySexyCool belongs to Tionne Watkins and Rozonda Thomas. While they aren’t the most accomplished vocalists – they have a tendency to be just slightly off-key – the material they sing is consistently strong. As the cover of Prince’s If I Was Your Girlfriend indicates, TLC favor erotic, mid-tempo funk. Yet the group removes any of the psychosexual complexities of Prince’s songs, leaving a batch of sexy material that just sounds good, especially the hit singles. Both Creep and Red Light Special have a deep groove that accentuates the slinky hooks” (Erlewine).
“The album’s centerpiece is the magnificent Waterfalls, a revival meeting of new jack swing, gospel” (Wolk). “With its gently insistent horns and guitar lines and instantly memorable chorus, [it] ranks as one of the classic R&B songs of the ‘90s” (Erlewine).
Blender Magazine’s 100 Greatest American Albums (10/08)