Personnel: Pauli Carman, Rena Day (vocals).
Recording information: Daygroup Studios; Private Studios.
Champaign had huge hits with 1981's "How About Us" and 1983's "Try Again," but by the late 1980s, the Illinois group was struggling. So Champaign turned to the same Jackson, MS-based label that had been a refuge for Johnnie Taylor, Denise LaSalle, Latimore and other soul veterans: Malaco. In 1990, Champaign signed with Malaco and recorded IV, its first album since 1984's Woman In Flames. Lead singer Pauli Carman had been recording as a solo artist, and returned to the band for this decent but not earth-shattering release. Instead of jumping on the new jack swing bandwagon and adding an abundance of rapping, Champaign pretty much sticks with the type of pop-flavored R&B it had been recording since the early 1980s. Although Champaign uses a lot of keyboards and drum machines, R&B/adult contemporary tunes like "Belong," "Teardrops Fall" and "Trials of the Heart" aren't much different from the songs Champaign had done for its Columbia debut almost ten years earlier. The production is high-tech, but the writing is pretty much the same. IV was ignored by urban contemporary radio, and adult contemporary radio wasn't very responsive either. ~ Alex Henderson