Today is Tevin Campbell’s 44th birthday, so it’s only right that this week’s TBT selecton is something from his catalog.

The year was 1993 and Tevin Campbell was months shy of his 17th birthday and getting ready to release his sophomore album. That album, I’m Ready, was led with what would become Tevin’s signature hit: “Can We Talk.”

Written by Babyface and Daryl Simmons, “Can We Talk” has the kind of lyric and melody combo that makes you want to sing along. They’re “accessible” and perfect for a teenage performer, and Tevin’s youthful vocals executed them perfectly.

The song would go on to peak at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, and 27 years later, it is still a favorite among R&B fans and a stable at karaoke bars.

On March 16, 1971, the night of the 13th Grammy Awards, Aretha Franklin performed her version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge over Troubled Water.” She had performed it at a few of her shows in the weeks prior, but for the first time, the world got to hear it.

Covering a hit song is always a bold choice, and even more so when that song is only a year old — the original was released in January 1970. However, it was pretty common for artists to cover each other’s shit within months of the original’s release — even Elvis Presley had covered “Bridge” months before Aretha.

On that night at the Grammys, the original won Grammys for Best Contemporary Song, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year. Most people would think twice about covering a song that big on a night like that, but when you’re Aretha Franklin, you can do whatever the fuck you want — especially when you were one of the muses for its creation.

While the original is a haunting and beautifully sung, Aretha’s version is a lot more soulful. She “takes us to church” in the truest sense of that expression. Her version went on to become a classic in its own right, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and winning a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance the following year.

Ariana Grande leans into the Mariah Carey emulation on Positions, her sixth studio LP and third in two years. The whistle notes appear more than ever before, and the way she uses them is especially Mimi-esque.

Ariana and TBHits are credited as writers on all 14 tracks of the album, with a host of others — including usual suspects, Tayla Parx and Victoria Monet — providing an assist. The central theme of the album is sex, and unlike previous projects, Ariana stays within the confines of R&B — no random pop ditties here and there.

The album opens with “Shut Up,” a violin-driven track with a meme-ready hook. It’s cute for about the first minute or so, then gets really old really fast.

”Shut Up” is followed by “34+35,” a bop that is as raunchy as it is clever, and a No. 1 hit whenever it gets released — because songs this good rarely get left as album cuts. Sonically, it is exactly what we expect from Ariana, which is basically a revival of late-’90s Mariah.

The Doja-Cat-assisted “Motive” has Ariana grilling a suitor over a beat that is R&B yet house yet trap. The track is by far the most original thing Ariana has ever done and one of the shining moments on Positions. Unfortunately, it is followed by “Just Like Magic,” which sounds dated and downright lazy in style and lyrical content. An entirely skippable dud.

“Off the Table,” a duet with the Weeknd, steers us in a somewhat better direction. The track is definitely in Abel’s sonic territory and makes for great background music.

Ariana rap-sings à la Beyoncé to her sometimes possessive man on “Six Thirty,” which is another one of the album’s best. She teams up with Ty Dolla $ign on “Safety Net,” a decidedly unremarkable track that we could file wherever we filed “Off the Table.”

“My Hair” gives us the most mature-sounding version of Ariana we’ve probably ever experienced. The song can be described as neo-soul-lite — think something you’d hear at a lounge frequented Gen-Xers. The track ends with a lot of whistle note action, and is followed by “Nasty,” which begins with a whistle note that sounds particularly Mariah-ish. “Nasty” is about exactly what you’d expect it to be about, and is sung over a basic-ass track beat. The song kinda comes alive at the bridge, but overall, it is quite forgettable.

“West Side” is a laid-back, semi-futuristic jam that feels cooler than most of the album. The mid-tempo track is just over two minutes long — because Ariana is now a real R&B artist and real R&B artists make their best songs unreasonably short.

“Love Language” sounds like a Neptunes production from 2002. The song, which also has disco-ish elements, ends with a 20-second interlude that is better than most of the album. Ariana plays too much.

“Love Language” is followed by the album’s lead single and title track, and then “Obvious,” the album’s very best song. “Obvious” is squarely in Ariana’s lane, but manages to feel a lot fresher than most of the album — perhaps because the pace of the track is slightly slower than her usual up-tempo pace. It is also one of the stronger vocal performances on Positions.

The album that ends with “POV,” a ballad that underwhelms at first but gets better with each listen.

Positions would benefit from shaving off two or three songs, but overall, it is a solid outing by Ariana Grande. As an artist, she seems to be settling into her style, which is definitely derivative of Mariah Carey’s style, but decidedly bolder in terms of lyrical content.

For an artist on a winning streak like Ari’s, there can be pressure to be “experimental” for the heck of it, but with Positions, she proves that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And in an industry that is always in a hurry to condemn successful, young female artists as “playing it safe,” that is powerful.

Album rating: 8 out of 10 stars.

In July of ’99, Blaque released “Bring It All to Me” as the second single from the group’s self-titled debut album.

(Sidebar: Did you know Blaque stood for Believing in Life and Achieving a Quest for Unity in Everything? The more you know.)

Co-written and co-produced by Cory Rooney, the song samples Shalamar’s “I Don’t Wanna Be the Last to Know.” Take this as more evidence that Shalamar is the most underrated group ever, and that much of the R&B music before 1985 didn’t get a fair shake. Honestly, R&B still doesn’t get a fair shake, but we’ll table that for another post.

The album version of “Bring It All to Me” features the only real vocalist in *NSYNC, JC Chasez, but the whole group is credited. The video version doesn’t include his vocals, which is odd — artists don’t put collaborations on album just to exclude the collaborator when the single is released. My guess is that *NSYNC’s label didn’t want the group to lose pop appeal by associating with a black girl group so early in the group’s career.

And how’s this for random: One of the song’s remixes features a then-unknown 50 Cent.

From the piano line to the beat to the mellow vocals, “Bring It All to Me” is song is so late ’90s smooth. The song would become the group’s biggest hit, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

This week’s TBT selection is in honor of Blaque member Natina Reed, who passed away in 2012. Yesterday would’ve been her 40th birthday.

Today, one of the greatest vocalists in the history of popular music turns 40.

When former child stars turn 40, it really puts into perspective just how young they were when they first started. Monica was only 14 when Miss Thang dropped in 1995, but an even more impressive fact is that she recorded some of the album’s biggest hits in the summer of ’93 — when she was just 12 years old.

She would go on to follow Miss Thang with The Boy Is Mine, which produced her three No. 1 hits. And then the new millennium came, and the music industry basically abandoned most of the greats of ’90s R&Bs. She would have one more top 10 hit, but was would never enjoy the same kind of success she did in the mid-’90s.

Chart positions be damned, Monica was still putting out quality. From “Love All Over Me” to “Everything to Me,” R&B connoisseurs know that the quality never waned.

Join me in celebrating one of the best to ever hold a mic. Below are my four favorites from Monica’s iconic catalog.

“Before You Walk out My Life”

“Why I Love You So Much”

“First Night”

“All Eyez on Me”

Call her President Grande.

In the video for her new single, “Positions,” Ariana Grande is a young, sexy president of the United States, who handles national crises by day and bakes in lingerie at night. The lyrics, however, have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with secks.

“Positions” is the lead single and title track of Ariana’s sixth LP, which drops on October 30. Because so much of her work is Mariah redux, it’s hard to say if Ariana actually has a sound, but that being said, “Positions” feels like standard fare.

The video has cameos from Ariana’s inner circle: Victoria Monet, Tayla Parx, Nija Charles, Tyler Ford, Misha Lambert, and Ari’s mom, Joan Grande. And in under 48 hours, it has already amassed 26 million views on YouTube.

If you’re a betting man, put money on “Positions” becoming Ariana’s fifth No. 1 (and fifth No. 1 debut) on the Billboard Hot 100.

In September of 2002, Santana released “The Game of Love” as the lead single from the group’s 19th LP, Shaman. Written by Gregg Alexander and Rick Nowels, the song’s vocals are performed by Michelle Branch.

“Game of Love” is a song that I’ve loved for years, and it might have been a TBT selection sooner if I didn’t have reservations about the song’s performers. What reservations, you ask? Santana’s lead singer, Carlos Santana, said Beyoncé can’t sing (which is objectively false) in a bid to justify Adele’s Grammy win over her. Mind you, Carlos Santana literally doesn’t sing and yet somehow has all these Grammys in his possession. He quickly apologized for his comment, but you know he still feels that way deep down.

Michelle Branch, on the other hand, once said Mariah Carey’s songs are stupid, which is quite rich coming from someone who makes stupid-ass songs like this. It’s the audacity for me.

In any case, “Game of Love” is the sort of alternative rock track that I just can’t resist. Produced by Clive Davis and Carlos Santana, the song’s vocals were initially sung by Tina Turner, but when she declined to be in its music video, Macy Gray was tapped to sing the song. Clive didn’t like Macy’s version, so we ended up with Michelle Branch.

The Tina Turner version was released years later, and while we love Queen Tina, Michelle’s version is better. Tina’s ad libs towards the end of the song are amazing, but overall, the track works better with a lighter voice.

“Game of Love” peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.

Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, better known as Ginuwine, turns 50 years old today, so this week’s TBT selection was a no-brainer.

When people think about Ginuwine, the first song that often comes to mind is “Pony,” and for good reason. It was his very first single and easily his most recognizable song.

“Pony” is a great song — a classic, in fact — but a part of me feels like it has taken all the oxygen in the room that is Ginuwine’s legacy. Of all the neglected gems in Ginuwine’s catalog, none bothers me more than “Same Ol’ G.”

Released in July of ’98, “Same Ol’ G” was a single from the Dr. Dolittle soundtrack. It wasn’t a hit song — mainly because there was no CD issuance for the single — but it’s one that measures up to Ginuwine’s biggest hits. Also, in terms of production and songwriting, it is among Timbaland’s best work.

Click play and join me in celebrating the life and career of Ginuwine.