Old school R&B

It’s sad when I title a post “old school R&B” and the song is from 1992. *sigh* I guess 1992 is 22 years ago, although you’ll never be able to convince me of that.  Anyway, I was listening to the iTunes smart playlist “90s Music” which I’m pretty sure is set up for everyone when you download iTunes as I don’t recall creating that playlist and the Babyface/Toni Braxton song “Give U My Heart” came on. I had seriously forgotten how much of a jam that song is.

I was not really into the new jack swing/R&B genre during the 90s as I was still desperately searching for pure pop in a landscape of grunge. I never really cared for the sappy ballads that seemed to characterize it.  This was during the heart of my college years and trying to find happy places and things that led me there frequently was more difficult that I’d like to admit. I remember being horrified when Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” broke Olivia Newton-John’s record for most consecutive weeks at #1, although that pain was assuaged a little bit when Whitney Houston turned around and broke that record not 2 months later with “I Will Always Love You.”  I became a big fan of the Tony! Toni! Toné! song “If I Had No Loot” but my continued fondness for the song is mostly rooted in nostalgia and remembering my roommate singing along to it in the car when we drove in to class.

I didn’t even know “Give U My Heart” at the time although the Boomerang soundtrack was everywhere that summer.  Since the soundtrack was made of up songs from a genre that didn’t really appeal to me, I figured I wouldn’t bother with it.  Also, the previously mentioned “End of the Road” was on there and it was my mission in life to avoid that song like the plague.  I don’t remember if it was before or after Toni Braxton hit it big as a solo artist that I discovered this song, but whatever, the fact is that it was one of the first mp3s I had on my computer back in the day.  Toni Braxton’s voice is just so big and powerful that it’s no wonder that she went on to a successful solo career.

Never really understood the love for Babyface at the time, but I was listening to some of his songs on Spotify this morning while writing this post and they aren’t as bad as I remember. Excised from all the other wanna be young R&B artists, his stuff rises to the top of the pile.  Even sappy stuff like “When Can I See You Again” doesn’t elicit the same strongly negative reactions that I had at the time. And honestly, if I’d have allowed myself to admit it, it was closer to the pure pop that I was looking for than some of the other things I was listening to at the time.  There’s also no denying his vocal chops either – look at him effortlessly make Madonna look like shit in the one and only live performance of “Take A Bow.”

(Easily one of her worst live performances, but I do cut her some slack because it was pre-Evita vocal training and because she has a serious case of nerves from how much you can see her arm shaking.)

So if you’re in the mood to get your new jack swing 90s on, get yourself a copy of “Give U My Heart.” It stands the test of time.

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