Second Chance (El DeBarge album)

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Second Chance is the fifth studio album by American R&B singer and songwriter El DeBarge. It was released on November 30, 2010, by Geffen Records and Interscope Records. It is his first studio album in 16 years and the follow-up to Heart, Mind and Soul (1994). Production for the album took place at various recording studios and was handled by DeBarge and several other record producers, including Ron Fair, Mike City, Michael Angelo, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.

Second Chance
Second Chance cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 30, 2010
GenreR&B, soul, pop
LabelGeffen, Interscope
ProducerMichael Angelo, The Avila Brothers, Christian Davis, El DeBarge (also exec.), Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Ron Fair, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, John Goux, Mike City, Victor "V Dubb" Wilson
El DeBarge chronology
Heart, Mind and Soul
Second Chance
Singles from Second Chance
  1. "Second Chance"
    Released: August 17, 2010
  2. "Lay With You"
    Released: October 25, 2010

The album debuted at number 57 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 21,000 copies in its first week. It remained on the chart for 12 weeks and produced two singles, "Second Chance" and "Lay With You". Upon its release, Second Chance received acclaim from music critics, who complimented its material and praised DeBarge's singing. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album, set to be presented at the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012.[1]


The album is DeBarge's first studio release in 16 years, following a period of drug addiction and legal problems.[2] After his release from prison in 2009,[2] he was introduced by his manager, Pete Farmer,[3] to music executives Ron Fair and Jimmy Iovine at Geffen and Interscope Records.[4] DeBarge sang a cappella in his audition for the label.[5] He later said of the meeting and audition, "we put a plan together and the minute I stepped into the studio I was so nervous, but I felt so much power just coming through me soon as I hit the microphone it was like, it was still there".[4] He subsequently signed a recording deal with the label and began working on Second Chance.[6]


Recording sessions for the album took place at various recording studios, namely Capitol Studios, Flyte Tyme Studios, House of Music, MAS Sounds Studio, Mischkemusic Studios, No Excuses, Oceanway Studios, Redstar Recording, Shelter Studios, Sly Doggie Studios, Sounds Studio, The Boiler Room, The Boom Boom Room, and Unsung Studios.[7] DeBarge co-wrote and co-produced the album, working with producers such as Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Mike City, Ron Fair, the Avila Brothers, and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, who had worked with him on his previous album Heart, Mind and Soul (1994).[6] He also worked with guest artists 50 Cent, Faith Evans, and Fabolous.[8] DeBarge said of the album's music, "There's music to dance to and make love to, music to cry to. I'm starting from scratch, coming fresh. But my sound still embodies the same soulful, intricate harmonies".[6]

Release and promotionEdit

Second Chance was released by Geffen Records on November 30, 2010, in the United States.[9] It debuted at number 57 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and sold 21,000 copies in its first week,[12] the week ending December 18, 2010.[13] It also entered at number 13 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[14] The album spent 12 weeks on the Billboard 200.[13] In the United Kingdom, Second Chance was released on February 11, 2011.[9] It was also released as a two-disc deluxe edition,[15] packaged with a bonus disc of Christmas-themed songs.[16]

DeBarge made several well-received performances and reintroduced himself to the public.[17] On June 27, 2010,[18] he made his first media appearance since his prison release as a surprise guest at the 2010 BET Awards, performing a medley of his earlier hit songs as a member of DeBarge and as a solo artist,[2][19] including "Second Chance".[6] Subsequently, he opened for recording artist Vivian Green and performed at the 2010 Essence Music Festival in July.[6] Throughout October 2010,[20] he opened for recording artist Mary J. Blige on her Music Saved My Life Tour.[2] He also made promotional appearances on BET's 106 & Park, The Steve Harvey Morning Show, and The Wendy Williams Show,[17][21] as well as signing events at CD retailers in New York City, Chicago, and Houston during the album's release week.[22]

The album's lead single, "Second Chance", was released on August 17, 2010 as a digital download.[23] It debuted the following week at number 84 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[17] It spent two weeks on the chart and peaked at number 41.[24] "Second Chance" earned DeBarge two Grammy Award nominations, for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song, presented at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011.[25] The album's second single, "Lay with You", features Faith Evans and was released on October 25, 2010.[26] It reached number 20 and spent 14 weeks on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[24]

In promotion of Second Chance, DeBarge headlined an eight-date national tour in October, coinciding with concert dates for Blige's tour.[8] In December, he toured with recording artist Fantasia and performed on The Mo'Nique Show and The View.[25][27] He was scheduled to tour during the Spring in the United States with Kem and Ledisi, beginning February 17, 2011, but withdrew after checking himself into a rehabilitation center to address his drug abuse.[28] Recording artist Musiq Soulchild served as his replacement on the tour.[28]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [16]
The Dallas Morning NewsB+[29]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[30]
MSN Music (Expert Witness)A–[31]
USA Today    [33]

Second Chance was met with widespread critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 84, based on six reviews.[34]

Reviewing the album for AllMusic, Andy Kellman called it "one of the year's best R&B albums" and applauded its "sweet love songs — pleasurable, fresh updates of his tried and true approach", adding that DeBarge's voice "remains capable of elevating substandard material, not that there is much of it here".[16] Entertainment Weekly's Mikael Wood commented that "his ethereal vocals still shimmer so effortlessly", and called it "the year's most elegant tell-all".[30] Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe wrote that "DeBarge simply soars, his feather-light vocals still in top form".[11] Steve Jones of USA Today felt that DeBarge's "sweet, soaring falsetto remains intact, and he has lost none of his knack for writing catchy, romantic tunes".[33] The Huffington Post's Marlynn Snyder critiqued that "the effort to surround [DeBarge] with a mix of both established, hit-making songwriters and producers, and younger creative voices, is a rousing success".[10]

Steve Horowitz from PopMatters claimed that the album's material "succeeds to a large extent simply because it addresses a wide demographic".[9] Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News praised DeBarge's "melodic soul-pop" vocals and described the album as "an elegant effort that updates his style without obliterating it".[29] Okayplayer's E. Esi Arthur wrote that the album "does an efficient job of lining up songs where his unique vocal styling is in the front seat".[32] In MSN Music, Robert Christgau found DeBarge's voice "unspoiled" and said his "special gift has always been combining the boyish innocence of J5-era Michael Jackson with intimations of physical congress. The quirky murmurs, yelps, and coos of his head voice, a high end of unequalled softness and give, sound responsive where Jackson's sound willed. There's a girl there, or just as likely a grown woman. And whether or not El seems manly to you, he's turning her on and vice versa".[31]

Track listingEdit

1."Lay With You" (featuring Faith Evans)E.J. Coulter, Michael FlowersMike City3:41
2."Heaven"Eldra DeBargeAwesome Jones4:42
3."Close to You"FlowersMike City, Ron Fair (additional production)3:40
4."Format" (featuring 50 Cent)Christian Davis, DeBarge, Curtis Jackson, Victor WilsonChristian Davis, Victor "V Dubb" Wilson (co-producer), Ron Fair (additional production)4:08
5."When I See You"Mischke Butler, DeBarge, Kenneth Edmonds, Ron FairRon Fair4:17
6."How Can You Love Me"Bobby Ross Avila, Issiah J. Avila, DeBarge, James Harris III, Terry LewisThe Avila Brothers4:09
7."Serenading"FlowersMike City4:03
8."5 Seconds" (featuring Fabolous)Angelo, Butler, DeBarge, John Jackson, K. JacksonEl DeBarge, Michael Angelo3:32
9."Joyful"DeBarge, Harris III, LewisJimmy Jam & Terry Lewis4:43
10."Sexy Lady"Angelo, DeBarge, K. JacksonMichael Angelo2:51
11."Sad Songs"DeBarge, Harris III, Lewis, TuneDaRulaJimmy Jam & Terry Lewis3:18
12."The Other Side"DeBarge, Harris III, LewisJimmy Jam & Terry Lewis4:17
13."Second Chance"DeBarge, ButlerRon Fair3:40


Credits for Second Chance adapted from Allmusic.[35]




Chart (2010) Peak
U.S. Billboard 200[13] 57
U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[36] 13


  1. ^ "Nominees and Winners". GRAMMY. The Recording Academy. Archived from the original on 2011-12-01. Retrieved 2011-12-01.
  2. ^ a b c d Kennedy, Gerrick D. (December 1, 2010). El DeBarge gets a second chance after drug problems, releases first album in 16 years | Pop & Hiss. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  3. ^ Nathan, David (September 29, 2010). El DeBarge 2010 Interview at Soul - DeBARGE - Unsung Archived 2010-11-29 at the Wayback Machine. Soul Music. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  4. ^ a b IGA (June 29, 2010). El DeBarge : News : Watch a short film on the making of 'Second Chance' Archived 2012-09-26 at the Wayback Machine. Interscope Records. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  5. ^ Parker, Lonnae O'Neal (January 28, 2011). '80s star El DeBarge has a second chance at music and at life - but no one is sure if he can grab either. The Washington Post. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  6. ^ a b c d e Mitchell, Gail (July 9, 2010). El DeBarge Signs With Geffen For First Album In 16 Years. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  7. ^ El DeBarge - Second Chance CD Album. Muze. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  8. ^ a b Mapes, Jillian (September 28, 2010). El DeBarge Plots Headlining Tour, Records with Babyface. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Horowitz, Steve (February 25, 2011). El Debarge: Second Chance < PopMatters. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  10. ^ a b Snyder, Marylnn (December 1, 2010). Marlynn Snyder: Second Chance: El DeBarge Has a Winner. The Huffington Post. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  11. ^ a b Rodman, Sarah (November 29, 2010). El DeBarge, 'Second Chance'. The Boston Globe. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  12. ^ Concepcion, Mariel (December 8, 2010). Soulja Boy, Flo Rida Flop On Billboard Album Chart - The Juice | Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  13. ^ a b c El DeBarge Album & Song Chart History: Billboard 200 | Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  14. ^ Ramirez, Rauly (December 10, 2010). R&B/Hip-Hop Chart Juice: Jazmine Sullivan, Chrisette Michele, Kanye West - The Juice | Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  15. ^ [ Archived 2012-09-27 at the Wayback Machine El DeBarge : Releases : Second Chance [2 CD Deluxe Limited Edition]]. Interscope Records. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  16. ^ a b c Kellman, Andy (November 30, 2010). Second Chance - El DeBarge: Review. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  17. ^ a b c Mitchell, Gail (November 28, 2010). El DeBarge Gets Ready to Take His 'Second Chance'. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  18. ^ TeamIGA (June 28, 2010). El DeBarge : News : SOULFUL EL DEBARGE, SMOOTHER THAN EVER, DEBUTS MUSIC FROM NEW ALBUM SECOND CHANCE ON "BET AWARDS" SHOW Archived 2012-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Interscope Records. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  19. ^ Staff (June 28, 2010). El DeBarge Returns At BET Awards, Prepares New Album. MTV News. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  20. ^ Concepcion, Mariel (September 1, 2010). Mary J. Blige Announces Tour with Jazmine Sullivan, El DeBarge, Miguel. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  21. ^ TeamIGA (November 23, 2010). El DeBarge : News : El DeBarge on Wendy Williams November 24th Archived 2012-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Interscope Records. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  22. ^ TeamIGA (November 17, 2010). El DeBarge : News : EL DEBARGE RELEASE WEEK EVENTS IN NYC, CHICAGO, AND HOUSTON! Archived 2012-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Interscope Records. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  23. ^ El DeBarge : Releases : Second Chance Archived 2012-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Interscope Records. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  24. ^ a b El DeBarge Album & Song Chart History: R&B/Hip-Hop Songs | Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  25. ^ a b TeamIGA (December 2, 2010). El DeBarge : News : El DeBarge Scores Two Grammy Nominations Archived 2012-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Interscope Records. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  26. ^ El DeBarge : Releases : Lay With You (feat. Faith Evans) Archived 2011-01-27 at the Wayback Machine. Interscope Records. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  27. ^ TeamIGA (December 21, 2010). El DeBarge : News : El DeBarge performs tomorrow on The View! Archived 2012-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Interscope Records. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  28. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason (February 14, 2011). El Debarge Checks Into Rehabilitation Center. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  29. ^ a b Tarradell, Mario (November 29, 2010). CD reviews: New releases from The Black Eyed Peas and El DeBarge. The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  30. ^ a b Wood, Mikael (November 23, 2010). Second Chance | Music | Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  31. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (February 22, 2011). Aaron Neville/El DeBarge Archived 2011-03-09 at the Wayback Machine. MSN Music. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  32. ^ a b Arthur, E. Esi (January 6, 2011). El Debarge – Second Chance (Interscope Records) : 2011. Okayplayer. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  33. ^ a b Jones, Steve (November 29, 2010). Listen Up: El DeBarge wins big with 'Second Chance' - USA Today. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  34. ^ Second Chance Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2011-03-08.
  35. ^ Second Chance - El DeBarge: Credits. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.
  36. ^ El DeBarge Album & Song Chart History: R&B/Hip-Hop Albums | Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-02-26.

External linksEdit