Whatever Happened to: Zhane

It’s no secret to avid Georgia Mae readers that I absolutely despise Kanye West’s last album, 808s and Heartbreak. I’d rather have scalding hot ice picks shoved into my ears while tongue kissing Jabba the Hut than to let that album anywhere near my CD player again. It’s by far my least favorite album in the past 10 years.

So that begs the question – what was the worst album prior to Kanye’s disaster? Believe it or not, that (dis)honor would go to Zhane’s second album, Saturday Night. It might sound odd but it’s true – I absolutely hated this album back in the late 90s. I recently gave it fresh listen to see if it’s as bad as I remember. Let’s reminisce and find out.

Jean Norris and Renee Neufville joined forces in 1993 to become “Jean-Nee,” or Zhane, as part of Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit clique. It didn’t take them long to set radiowaves ablaze with “Hey Mr. DJ.” That cut was played at EVERY party for the next year. Their helpfully titled debut, Pronounced Jah-Nay, dropped the following year.

It didn’t take long for the album to go platinum, thanks to more feel-good songs like “Groove Thang” and mid-tempo jams like “Sending All My Love” that showcased their harmonies.

That same year, they contributed “Shame” to the Low Down Dirty Shame Soundtrack. Man, those 90s soundtracks were better than most albums today.

In 1996, the duo returned with magically longer hair for their dreaded sophomore album, Saturday Night. After listening to it for the first time in about 15 years I could only come up with one reason why I hated it so…

…Back in high school, I must have suffered from an ear infection that poisoned my brain because this album isn’t bad at all. It’s actually pretty good!

It’s far from perfect, of course. The lead single, “Request Line,” might be pretty fun but it’s the SAME CONCEPT they used for “Hey Mr. DJ.” Who would be dumb enough to keep releasing songs that sound exactly the same over and over again?

Oh wait…

Anyway, Saturday Night certainly has some dull tracks, but Renee and Jean’s voices mesh so well together that they make virtually every slow jam exceptional. Check out the second single “Crush,” and “For The Longest Time.” Their voices blend in such harmony that they become indistinguishable. In a good way, that is.

Should They Come Back?: Last I heard, the pair had gone their separate ways, but if they decided to reunite and stick to the Saturday Night formula, they would fit comfortably into today’s “urban adult contemporary” category. I could easily see them headlining a show along with current acts like Urban Mystic and Vivian Green.

Mark this down because it doesn’t happen often – I admit I’ve been wrong for years. Zhane brings the goods. And I’d much rather listen to Saturday Night than kiss this guy:



  1. What do you think of 808s and Heartbreak now?

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