The Critical Eye

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Friday, October 29, 2010

What happened to love songs?

So the other day, a friend of mine posted on Face Book, his feelings about a new song by Keith Sweat and Joe, called Test drive. According to him,it's the ultimate ballad. Being familiar with the lyrics for this song, I spent the next few days wondering if for some reason, I had missed the memo on, "How you sweet talk women in the new millennium."

This tune has a very catchy beat and an engaging hook, but the lyrics are awe inspiring, with deep loving and reflective verses like; "Out of all the cars, in the yard. You're the one a player wants. Got a big bank girl, I can buy the parts," Test Drive goes where other love songs fail. I mean songs by Luther Vandross with lines like; "Love has truly, been good to me, not even one sad day, or minute have I had since you came my way," are eclipsed by Test Drive's reflective; "I know you thinkin, I'm talkin about a car, but baby I'm not I'm talking about us."

Evidently there is something us Gen Xer's are missing. The way to a woman's heart in the Gen Y diaspora does not meander through her brain and down towards her heart. It's not captured by the ears and masticated for filtration to be deciphered in code. No, you've got to reach right down and grab her panties. So, saying, "Love has a mind of it's own, it comes at the strangest times, somehow it takes control, so try and try but it won't let me go, no matter what I do or where I go your love's got a hold on me," (Glenn Jones) is inadequate today. No, with today's girls you've got to go for the jugular; "You make me wanna test drive -It's hot up in here I'm a take off your top- You make me wanna test drive - Got my feet on the gas and we won't ever stop- You make me wanna test drive - Just put the roof back and let your panties drop- Down, down, touch the ground." That's the stuff that gets them wild.

You see what's most frustrating is that a lot of today's young crooners have these magnificent voices, Tyrese, Tank, Joe, Avant, Ginuwine; and yet their choice of material continues to perpetuate the unsophisticated palate of Ghetto romance. In Tyrese's immortal words, "You know we be tearing it up, breaking @#$% that Ghetto love. So, how you gonna act like that?" I mean how could Teddy Pendergrass even think of singing, "Think I better let it go, looks like another love TKO?" When girls today are scrambling for songs that talk about; "I'm what you need, you need a lift girl, I'll be the seat. Come on and sit on it, ride on it, but don't you move from it."

I feel like I'm in a Barry White time warp. Caught up in his line, "Tell me a secret, I just don't wanna know about any secret but I wanna know about that special secret." I'm still glowing from knowing that, "Love won't let me wait, because the time is right, to spend the night, in a wonderland. So move a little close to me, you owe it to yourself." That's what I remember trying to conjugate as I navigated my way around a woman's head. Where did those words go?

Now, we are bombarded with; I keep it comin so my wood-grain telling me to go North, go East, Go West, Go South, down. Ridin in your Cadillac,keep your feet by the brake if you ain't ready yet." Lord, you took Luther away for some reason and just when we thought Brian McKnight might help us with, "My shattered dreams and broken heart are mending on the shelf. I saw you standing close, holding hands with someone else," money took his creative spirit and made him sing rubbish. Please help us, because somewhere, even my brothers that I grew up with, those who should remember what a true love song should be about, are now touting Test Drive.