Babyface
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Derrick Dunn

Second Listen Sunday : Babyface, The Day

Babyface was already a legendary hitmaker when his fourth album, The Day, arrived in stores in the fall of 1996. For the album’s first single, “This Is for the Lover in You,” a cover of the Shalamar classic, Babyface linked up with LL Cool J and the former members of Shalamar: Howard Hewett, Jody Watley, and Jeffrey Daniel. It was a lively cover that echoed the original while adding some nineties R&B flavor.

Babyface released dual songs for the second single, depending on the market and the collaborations continued on both. “Talk to Me” found Face collaborating with Eric Clapton on guitar and reunited the two legends. Earlier in the summer, Face and Clapton worked on the lovely cover of “Change the World,” so it was great to hear the two working together again.

One of Babyface’s most famous songs, “Every Time I Close My Eyes,” saw release alongside “Talk to Me.” Mariah Carey served as a backing vocalist, and it also had a sax solo from Kenny G. “Every Time I Close My Eyes” was textbook Babyface. He sings the mess out of the song. If you’ve had the pleasure to hear it live, then you know what I’m talking about.

For the final single, “How Come, How Long,” Babyface linked up with Stevie Wonder. “How Come, How Long” went against the usual Babyface template as the lyrics dealt with physical abuse, regarding a woman killed by her husband after tremendous physical abuse. While the topic is one of much-needed discussion, I’ve always felt the song didn’t gel with the rest of the album. Maybe it would have been better off as a single, raising money for abused women or even saving the song for the 2002 Jennifer Lopez movie, Enough

The real gems on The Day, though, are in the album tracks. The lush ballads “When Your Body Gets Weak,” “Seven Seas,” and “I Said I Love You” are signature Babyface that destroys much of the so-called music on the radio in 2021. However, two particular songs resonate the most with me from this project.

When I first started dating my wife way back in 2007, I kept one on repeat. “All Day Thinkin,” as it always reminds me of the newness in a relationship. The lyrics “You have a synergy that gets in me (that’s better than sex)” is so spot on with its message as it reminds me of the times I just wanted to be around my lady and her positivity. Finally, “The Day You Gave Me a Son” reminds me of the day my wife gave birth to my son and how I couldn’t wait for him to enter the world.

Featuring only ten songs, The Day still resonates as a fine album overall twenty-five years later, from one of the greatest writers in music.

Final Grade: B+

Top Songs: “All Day Thinkin,” “I Said I Love You,” “The Day You Gave Me a Son,” and “Every Time I Close My Eyes

The Day is available on all streaming platforms.

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