Vibe - 6/96, p.134
"...MISSION TO PLEASE completely captures, in mood and sound, the essence of contemporary urban romance....the Isleys make sure we can all still dance the horizontal bop."
The Isley Brothers: Ronald Isley (vocals); Ernie Isley (guitar, background vocals); Marvin Isley (background vocals).
Additional personnel: Angela Winbush (vocals); Reggie Griffin (guitar); Peter Mokran (programming); R. Kelly, Keith Sweat, Kut Klose (background vocals); Lafayette Carthon, Jason Hess, Emanuel Officer.
Producers: Angela Winbush, Ronald Isley (tracks 1-2, 4, 7-8); R. Kelly (tracks 3, 5); R. Kelly, Angela Winbush, Ronald Isley (track 6); Angela Winbush, Ronald Isley, Ernie Isley (track 9); Keith Sweat (track 10).
MISSION TO PLEASE finds the Isley Brothers recasting their music in a contemporary R&B mode. The Isleys have made a career of changing with the times, from their early, Jackie Wilson-esque recordings to their '70s funk-rock heyday. Here they prove that they're still at the forefront of modern pop, enlisting the songwriting skills of hitmakers R. Kelly and Babyface and the vocal assistance of Keith Sweat. The Isleys update their sound with slick arrangements that feature sophisticated electronics on equal footing with Ernie Isley's signature guitar work.
Ronald Isley's smooth vocal style enriches a luxurious version of Simply Red's "Holding Back The Years." Elsewhere, he explores romantic and sexual themes with the single-minded obsession of secular-period Al Green.
Personnel: Angela Winbush, Ronald Isley (vocals, background vocals); Ernie Isley (guitar, background vocals); Reggie Griffin (guitar); Peter Mokran (programming); Keith Sweat, Kut Klose, Marvin Isley, R. Kelly (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Peter Mokran.
Recording information: CRC Studio; GL Studio; Ocean 11 Studio.
Photographer: Dah Len.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Lafayette Carthon; Emanuel Officer; Jason Hess; The Isley Brothers.
On their second album of the '90s, the Isley Brothers capitalize on the smooth love ballads epitomized by crooners like Babyface, Keith Sweat, and R. Kelly. Since all three of those artists were influenced by the Isleys' classic '70s records, they were willing to come on board to produce and co-write Mission to Please. The new blood reinvigorates the Isleys, and the album is one of their strongest efforts of the latter part of their career. Mission to Please is devoted to the group's sensual side -- it's all ballads, no funk. And that's not a bad thing at all. Ronald still has a smoldering, seductive voice and Ernie is such a gifted, sympathetic guitarist that he can pull magic out of pedestrian material. Thankfully, he doesn't need to prove the truth in that statement on Mission to Please. The majority of the songs on the album are first-rate '90s contemporary R&B, and those that aren't quite as strong make for pleasing filler. As a result, Mission to Please is a testament to the talents of not only the Isley Brothers, but also their far-reaching influence -- they are fortunate to have given inspiration to such gifted songwriters and musicians as the aforementioned Babyface, R. Kelly, and Keith Sweat. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine