For this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to visit the Buckeye State and pay homage to The Rude Boys. The Cleveland-based quartet consisted of Larry Marcus, Melvin Sephus, Edward Lee “Buddy” Banks, and Joe Little III. Initially breaking onto the scene in 1990 with the hits “Written All Over Your Face” and “Are You Lonely For Me” from their debut, they wasted no time returning to the studio.
Slow Jam Saturday: DeBarge, Love Me In A Special Way
DeBarge, Motown’s eighties answer to The Jackson 5, was introduced to a whole new era of fans when one of Hip Hop goats, The Notorious B.I.G., sampled their 1983 classic “Stay With Me” for the remix to “One More Chance.” “Stay With Me” appeared on the group’s third album, In a Special Way. For this week’s Slow Jam Saturday, I wanted to highlight that album’s second and final single, “Love Me In a Special Way.”
The group’s lead singer, El DeBarge, wrote, composed, arranged, and produced the song. He blended his modal tenor vocals with high falsetto notes. The song features a melodic solo by Stevie Wonder, the group’s label mate at the time. In simplest terms, “Love Me In a Special Way” is a song about the desire for a unique and more profound connection in a romantic relationship.
El addresses his partner, stating that their charm initially won them over, but now he’s for something more meaningful and unique. He desires a deeper level of affection that surpasses the typical approaches and strategies employed to win someone’s heart. Throughout the song, El acknowledges that he’s not an average man easily swayed by sweet talk and empty promises. He wants his partner to understand that they need something more unique and authentic in their relationship.
El’s falsetto urges their partner to dig deeper and find new ways to connect with them on a deeper level because what worked before may not be enough to sustain their love and relationship. Overall, the song is a plea for a deeper and more authentic connection in a romantic relationship and a warning against relying on surface-level tricks and tactics to win over a partner.
While artists such as Tamia, Immature, and Kim Burrell have successfully covered the song, there’s something special about El’s vocals. Forty years later, “Love Me in a Special Way” still emphasizes the importance of individuality in love and the need for partners to truly understand and appreciate each other’s unique qualities to sustain a lasting and meaningful relationship.
Final Grade: A
“Love Me in a Special Way” from In A Special Way is available on all streaming platforms.
More reviews to explorer
Valentine’s Day 2024 may have come and gone, but I still plan to use highlight songs with the V-word for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. The artist I chose is a southern gentleman by the name of Lloyd. Initially breaking onto the scene as a member of the preteen-boy band N-Toon, Lloyd’s solo career kicked off in 2004 with the hit “Southside.”
One of the most talented men in indie music, Eric Roberson, kicked off his 30th-anniversary tour last night in Pittsburgh, so for this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to revisit Mr. Roberson’s third album, The Vault 1.5, which hit record stores in 2003. As Erro fans know, Roberson initially hit the scene with the lovely ballad “The Moon” while studying at Howard University. Roberson’s first record deal didn’t go as planned, but not one to just lay down, Roberson continued to build a name for himself by writing for the likes of 112 and Will Smith. Additionally, Roberson collaborated with Jill Scott, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Cam’ron.