97 Words: “Too Close” by Next

Vincent Anthony
2 Min Read

This song is part of our “THE SUMMER 97 (1998 x 2023)” playlist. Check out the full list.

In the 90s, R&B was filled with thinly-veiled double entendre. “Too Close” by R&B trio Next is a prime example, with the not-so-subtly suggestive lyrics that made it the year’s hottest song. Opening with lead singer R.L. posing the question, “I wonder if she could tell that I’m hard right now?” it’s amazing that the rest of the song’s lyrics seemingly managed to go over most people’s, and radio programmer’s, heads. What did they really think they meant by “a poke comin’ through,” and “You’re making it hard for me?” Ultimately, it’s… hard to stop a hit.

Watch the “Too Close” video, stream it, or buy Next’s debut album

In celebration of summer, the staff at THE 97 has compiled a playlist containing some of our favorite summer songs, from then and now. Each day we will reveal one song, rotating daily between past and present with pairings from 1998 and 2023, for a total of 97 days/songs. Since we love nostalgia, we’re celebrating summer songs from 1998 as they turn 25, alongside new songs that we feel deserve some shine. Pairings could be thematic, sonic, or based connections between the artists.

Check out our full “THE SUMMER 97 (1998 x 2023)” playlist here.

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Vincent is the founder of the magazine and has had a strong passion for popular music since, well, 1997! If it's not obvious, his favorite artists include Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, P!nk, and many more. Vincent lives in New York, where he is a high school English teacher, and currently he is pursuing a Master's in Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.