In 1994, TLC were attempting to make a transition to the next stage of their career. Although now considered a New Jill Swing classic, their debut album ‘Ooooooohhh…On The TLC Tip’, was only fitfully brilliant and had some serious rough edges that the trio had yet to iron out.
As this previously unreleased video for ‘Creep’ (the lead single from their second album ‘CrazySexyCool’) shows, the band were in two minds about how to go from condom-wearing, young pop stars courting the teen market to the sophisticated women of R&B which marked their most legendary phase.
With its dark lighting and hip hop styling it’s a much grittier clip than the one that was finally used. Was this version considered ‘too urban’ for mainstream MTV? Quite possibly.
Not only is this ‘Creep’ more genre specific, it also feels more dated. In truth, it’s no surprise that the previous credits of promo director Lionel C.Martin included Boyz II Men, Jodeci and R.Kelly. His version of ‘Creep’ is heavy on the early 90s urban video standards; the dancing in the parking lot scene (check out the bouncing car bonnets!), the street party climax (note: the kid randomly playing a trumpet) and the making-out-in-the-rain shot. Also noticeable is the way they mugged to camera, a hangover from the ‘…TLC Tip’ era.
They clearly made the right call. This version of ‘Creep’ is fun in its own way, but we much prefer the version they ended up running with. If only for those those legendary silk pyjamas…