Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Second Listen Sunday : Billy Ocean, Suddenly

My choice for this week’s Second Listen Sunday is a singer who had already been in the music industry for almost a decade before one of his songs dethroned Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and reached the Number One spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

That man was Billy Ocean, and the song was “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)” from his fifth album Suddenly. Arriving in record stores on 12 September 1984, the album was led by the single “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run),” a ditty of a song centered on the adage of love at first sight. The song was the first of many collaborations between Ocean and maestro Keith Diamond.

Ocean released “Loverboy” as the second single album. This track was produced by Keith Diamond, who had worked with Michael Jackson, and Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who had previously produced multiple hits for Def Leppard and AC/DC. “Loverboy” uniquely blends R&B, soul, and rock and is still one of Ocean’s most popular songs. “Loverboy” has a catchy chorus, foot-tapping beats, and a strong bassline, making it perfect for the dance floor. The song’s lyrics revolve around Ocean’s longing for a special lady. Ocean conveys a sense of intense yearning and longing through his passionate expression of desire, reflected in his soulful delivery of the lines.

The connection between Diamond and Ocean was palpable in their collaboration on the third single and titular track of their album. “Suddenly” is widely considered the most notable song of the album and continues to be one of Ocean’s signature tunes. The ballad is a testament to Ocean’s exceptional vocal abilities, with its beautifully crafted tune and deeply emotional lyrics that leave a lasting impression on listeners. The memorable melodies and heartfelt lyrics of “Suddenly” have made it a timeless classic. Ocean would release two more singles from the album “Mystery Lady” and The Beatle’s cover, “Long Winding Road,” but neither made a chart dent the way the previous singles did.

Nevertheless, almost forty years later, it still sounds good. In terms of production, Suddenly boasts a polished and timeless sound that has aged well, thanks to the expert craftwork of Keith Diamond. The album’s instrumentation is rich, featuring a combination of electronic and traditional R&B elements that were popular in the 1980s. Suddenly is a solid and cohesive album that effectively captures the essence of 1980s R&B and pop music. Billy Ocean’s soulful delivery and the album’s well-crafted production make it a memorable and enjoyable listening experience for fans of the era.

Final Grade: B+

Suddenly is available on all streaming platforms.

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Second Listen Sunday : The Rude Boys, Rude House

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 : Lloyd, Valentine

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.”

Slow Jam Saturday : Ryan Leslie, Valentine

As we continue to celebrate the month of love, I chose “Valentine by Ryan Leslie as the second song with the word valentine for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. Leslie broke into the music industry in 2003, writing hits for Beyoncé and New Edition. Leslie released the singles “The Way That U Move Girl” and “Used 2 Be” featuring Fabolous. However, his debut album was never officially released due to creative differences with his record label. In late 2007, Leslie finally broke through with the bop “Diamond Girl,” and his self-titled album would finally hit record stores on February 10, 2009. Leslie also succeeded with the follow-up singles “Addiction” and “How It Was Supposed to Be.” Surprisingly, though, Leslie didn’t drop “Valentine” as the fourth single, which would have timed perfectly with the album release date.