Second Listen Sunday: Diana Ross, Why Do Fools Fall In Love

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Derrick Dunn

The year was 1981, not only the year of my birth but also when one of Motown’s artists left the label. That artist is Ms. Diana Ross, and this week’s pick for Second Listen Sunday and her twelfth album, Why Do Fools Fall In Love. I recently revisited the underrated 1998 Frankie Lymon biopic with the same title and had a eureka moment. If you’ve seen the film, you know that Ross’s cover version is what sets the plot in motion.

 

The first single, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” opens the album. A significant hit for Ross, her interpretation of the song captures the playful and infectious spirit of the original while adding her flair and charisma. For the second single, “Mirror Mirror,” Ross put on her producer’s hat, collaborating with songwriters Dennis Matkosky and Michael Sembello.

 

In this track, Ross delves into the theme of love lost and introspection, drawing inspiration from the mystical Magic Mirror of Snow White fame. The song is notable because Ross sang both lead and background vocals. For the third single, “Work That Body,” Ross earned her first writing credit, teaming up with Paul Jabara and Ray Chew. The trio knew what they were doing as the song had an aerobics class groove.

 

For the final single, “It’s Never Too Late,” Ross linked up with up-and-coming songwriters Dan Hartman and Ray Chew. This one has a disco feel, and while the genre was dying out, I could see why Ross recorded it. The rest of the album finds Ross exploring musical styles as well.

 

“Sweet Surrender” is sexy without being overly crass, while “Think I’m In Love” harks back to the borderline psychedelic soul. “Two Can Make It is a standard filler, but the song works. A solo version of the Lionel Richie duet “Endless Love” and a cover version of Brenda Lee’s “Sweet Nothings,” initially recorded by Brenda Lee, round out the album.

 

Why Do Fools Fall in Love is an impressive album that showcases Diana Ross’ talent through a mix of covers and original compositions, making it a memorable and enjoyable listening experience.

 

Final Grade: B+

 

Why Do Fools Fall in Love by Diana Ross is available on all streaming platforms.

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