Hi-Five was a powerhouse back in the early '90s, conquering R&B and pop charts with hits from their self-titled debut and sophomore effort, Keep It Goin' On. "I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)," "She's Playing Hard to Get" and "Can't Wait Another Minute" are the saccharine-sweet staples of a generation that instantly transport listeners of a certain age back to more innocent times.
But one need only watch the group's edition of Unsung to know a series of tragedies and lineup changes can completely derail a rising success story.
That could be why the group's carrying on after the loss of Tony Thompson, one of R&B's most unique and recognizable voices, is commendable. Without their secret weapon, the group has released Hi-Five The EP and on that set is the single "Different Kiss."
The song is about commitment, one that "ladies and the men can relate to when they are in love." The visuals here reflect that, with rings being pulled out and slipped on fingers during romantic proposals -- and proposals carried out in a hot dog fast-food joint. Still, the gesture is cute and keeps very much in the youthful spirit the group brought to music.
The track itself, from the melody to the lyrics, certifies "Different Kiss" as grown folks music. Gone are the dance moves, and gone are the sleeveless jerseys and shirtless-suit-rocking days of yesteryear, as the guys don puffy coats and hoods to keep warm in the brick temperatures of a New York/New Jersey winter. But that chill won't be felt by viewers, because Hi-Five's warmth has carried on despite a change in membership and evolution in sound. It might not be what we're used to, but it's definitely worthy of pushing the play button.