Released in Spring 1988, "Say It Again" was the third album for Jermaine Stewart, following the stellar "Frantic Romantic", which of course gave him a big taste of commercial success in the form of a Top Five single, the abstinence-promoting "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off".
On this album, Jermaine's friendship with Jody Watley is exploited to the max. Watley herself became a household name in 1987 on the strength of a #2 Billboard single called "Looking For a New Love" in which she kicked her unappreciative lover to the curb. Watley's debut album was a winner from beginning to end and here Jermaine enlists the aid of her producer Andre Cymone. The resulting collaboration made it evident that Watley and Stewart, aside from being best friends, were opposite sexual sides of the same coin, musically speaking, as this sounds like a male Jody Watley album except it lacks the catchy hooks and grooves of her debut. Despite its shortcomings, this one became Jermaine's biggest-selling album internationally.
The drum machines and keyboards have a more sparse sound on this album, as evidenced on the opener "Don't Talk Dirty to Me". It's an upbeat, likeable dance track with a faux-provocative title a la "Clothes Off". It lacks the commercial Top-40 sound of "Clothes" but is still a winner with Jermaine's sensual speaking voice put to good use.
The laid-back, horn-heavy title song has a very slight calypso vibe. Jermaine's albums up to this point always contained one such song and at least it sounds different from most of the material here.
There are a couple of darker, brooding songs that are probably the best things about this album. The mid-tempo "Get Lucky" is one; "Don't Have Sex With Your Ex" is another provocatively-titled effort with a catchy chorus that has Jermaine warning about the pleasures of the flesh as he tosses off some great ad-libs while his girlfriend begs for it.
The weakness of this album is too many similar Watley-type songs: The funky, danceable "Got To Be Love" shares the same beat as her biggest single; In "Dress It Up", Jermaine acknowledges his impeccable style and fashion sense, but musically it's more of the same; "My Body" has a good bridge but is otherwise forgettable; "Is It Really Love" is probably the best of these because an electric guitar makes it stand out a little more.
The lack of a strong ballad such as "Brilliance" or "Don't Ever Leave Me" also hurts this album somewhat. The closest thing we have here is "Eyes", but it's generic and is nowhere near as great as the aforementioned.
The remainder of the album is pure filler. "Call It a Miracle" is dance/rock with an electric guitar solo but too bland; "My House" is pure filler only notable for its appearance by Jody Watley (even she doesn't add much); "She's a Teaser" is fluffy, lightweight pop.
This album could have benefit from a more varied production. Jermaine's "Frantic Romantic" was his best album, and this one comes nowhere near but it does have its moments. Still a worthwhile purchase for fans, it's just not as varied as his first two efforts. Three-and-a-half out of five stars but certainly not worth the inflated out-of-print prices being asked.