Whatever (En Vogue song)

"Whatever" is a song by American female vocal group En Vogue. It was written by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Keith Andes, and Giuliano Franco for band's third studio album, EV3 (1997), while production was helmed by Edmonds, featuring additional production by Franco. Selected and released as the album's second single, it was the final single from EV3 to precede the release of its parent album. A moderate success, it reached the top ten in Canada and on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, while peaking within the top twenty in Finland, the United Kingdom and on the US Billboard Hot 100. "Whatever" was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of over 500,000 units.

EV3 - Whatever1.jpg
Single by En Vogue
from the album EV3
ReleasedMay 13, 1997
En Vogue singles chronology
"Don't Let Go (Love)"
"Too Gone, Too Long"
Music video
"Whatever" on YouTube


"Whatever" was written by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Keith Andes, and Giuliano Franco, while production was overseen by Edmonds.[1] Franco served as a co-producer on the song.[1] As with most on EV3, "Whatever" marked a breakaway for En Vogue who had worked exclusively with their founders Foster & McElroy throughout most of their career.[2] As the album was nearing completion, Dawn Robinson chose to leave the group in April 1997 for a solo recording contract with Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records after difficult contractual negotiations reached a stalemate.[2] Her abrupt departure from the band forced the remaining trio to re-record several of her original lead vocals; however, not every track was re-recorded, with Robinson's backing vocals remaining intact on "Whatever".[2]

Critical receptionEdit

AllMusic editor Leo Stanley wrote that on the track, Babyface is "funkier than [on] his previous work".[3] Larry Flick from Billboard described the song as a "slap-happy funk throw-down that elevates them miles above the glut of new-jill girl groups they've inspired." He noted that "despite being reduced to a trio, the act doesn't miss a note vocally. Their harmonies remain distinctive and lush, thanks in large part to the savvy production of Babyface and Giuliano Franco. They dress the act in immediately insinuating beats, ear-grabbing keyboard loops, and guitar licks."[4] J.D. Considine for Entertainment Weekly said that the lyrics to "Whatever" "depict a state of frustrated desire".[5] Gerald Martinez from New Straits Times described the song as a "midtempo and funky tune with a catchy chorus."[6] John Mulvey from NME stated that it "retains a frankly terrifying power", noting "the sprung minimalism".[7] Laura Jamison from Salon Magazine said that Babyface is "concocting a pop song jammed with hooks that don't require profound emotion -- perfect for En Vogue. These women can all sing, so when they get an opportunity to wail, they sound great."[8] Ann Powers from Spin wrote that "stroking their tender buttons" in the song, En Vogue "bring it all back to the basics of gorgeous harmonies and mind-boggling vocal riffs." She also added Babyface transforming the background vocals of the track "into android-precise sonic effects that bring out the eeriness in En Vogue's flawless form."[9] Ian Hyland from Sunday Mirror stated that the hit singles "Whatever" and "Don't Let Go (Love)" may well be brilliant but they only add more spice to a mighty fine collection."[10]

Music videoEdit

The horror movie-inspired music video, directed by Matthew Rolston, features the girls and the doctors disguised as zombies in a modern beauty salon with "Thriller-esque hair and makeup".[2] They are surrounded by doctors and nurses dressed in orange outfits performing various surgical procedures. Cindy Herron is shown pulling a face statue in a lightning filled hallway, while she begins the song covering up her face with a mask then removing to sing the first verse, replacing it back after the final chorus. Maxine Jones is seen singing in front of a three-way mirror in a blue dress. Terry Ellis sings in pale zombie-like makeup while wearing a beauty micrometer as a doctor attends to her. Several beauty enhancement procedures are shown in the video – face lifts, breast augmentation, even skin whitening. According to Vibe, the video was "not warmly received."[2]

Formats and track listingsEdit




  1. ^ a b EV3 (Media notes). En Vogue. Elektra Records. 1997.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e "Holding On". Vibe. January 1, 1998. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  3. ^ "En Vogue - EV3". AllMusic. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  4. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. May 24, 1997. p. 54. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  5. ^ "EV3". Entertainment Weekly. June 20, 1997. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  6. ^ "En Vogue still outstanding". New Straits Times. July 20, 1997. p. 17. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  7. ^ Mulvey, John. "EN VOGUE – EV3". NME. Archived from the original on 2000-08-17. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  8. ^ Jamison, Laura (July 18, 1997). "EN VOGUE - EV3". Salon Magazine. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  9. ^ "SPINS". Spin. August 1, 1997. p. 114. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  10. ^ Hyland, Ian (June 15, 1997). "Puff Daddy to Hit the B.I.G. Time". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  11. ^ "En Vogue: Whatever", UK CD Single at EIL
  12. ^ En Vogue - Whatever (The Dance Remixes) (Vinyl) at Discogs
  13. ^ En Vogue – Whatever (Lemon D & Roni Size Remixes) (Vinyl) at Discogs
  14. ^ AUS Charts > En Vogue. ARIA Charts.
  15. ^ "Ultratop.be – En Vogue – Whatever" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  16. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9879." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  17. ^ "Music & Media: Eurochart Hot 100" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  18. ^ "En Vogue: Whatever" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  19. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – En Vogue – Whatever" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  20. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – En Vogue" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  21. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – En Vogue – Whatever" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  22. ^ "Charts.nz – En Vogue – Whatever". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  23. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  24. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  25. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". officialcharts.com.
  26. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  27. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  28. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  29. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  30. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  31. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  32. ^ "RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1997". RPM. Archived from the original on August 5, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  33. ^ "1997 Year End Chart: R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  34. ^ "American single certifications – En Vogue – Whatever". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit