The legendary Stevie Wonder had already received his flowers numerous times when the R&B duo Black Coffey covered his lush ballad “Rocket Love” in 2002. The song initially appeared on Wonder’s nineteenth studio album, Hotter than July, which arrived ins stores on September 29, 1980.
Black Coffey was composed of brothers Jason and Clay Coffey, born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. Growing up, the brothers developed their passion and talent in music from their early years, singing in church choirs. Eventually, their skills found them signed to Motown. In the spring of 2003, the group’s cover of “Rocket Love” would make its way to the tribute album Conception – An Interpretation Of Stevie Wonder’s Songs. However, the group’s self-titled album never saw the light of day.
The song “Rocket Love” is a beautiful ballad about the Wonder of falling in love only to discover that despite the mutual feelings, the relationship is no longer the same. Similarly to Stevie Wonder’s interpretation of the lyrics of “Rocket Love,” Black Coffey’s version finds the pair nostalgically reflecting on a past relationship that has grown sour over time.
The couple seemed to have reached a point in their relationship when things started to feel like “heaven.” Although she was praised for being “sensitive & warm” and metaphorically took the man on board “her rocket,” she has since let go of him and moved on. The man now feels he has been dropped back into “this cold, cold world” in the wake of this experience. From a visual standpoint, the strong reminds me of the strong that Jacqueline put through after they put Marques through the wringer in Boomerang.
Beautifully, Black Coffey depicts the love and elegance of a woman. In addition, they do not downplay her bitter coldness in any way. Stevie’s lyrics effectively combine themes that relate to the appraisal of this past lover and the description of her indifference in a cohesive manner.
Furthermore, am I the only one who feels that the woman Stevie wrote about in Lately is the same one Stevie wrote about in “Rocket Love”? Black Coffey’s album may not have been released, but their cover of this Stevie classic showed endless potential.
Final Grade: B+
“Rocket Love” from Conception – An Interpretation Of Stevie Wonder’s Songs IS available on all streaming platforms.
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