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.
Single Review: Jagged Edge, Heaven Help Us
Twenty-six years in the game, Atlanta-based quartet Jagged Edge remains strong. Fans are eagerly awaiting All Original Parts, the group’s eleventh studio album. Thankfully JE stays on the road and recently blessed fans with a new single. This year for Valentine’s Day, JE released a cover of Deon Estus’s “Heaven Help Me.” JE changes things a bit by changing the last phrase to us.
Now I was overly critical of JE’s last two albums, The Layover and A Jagged Love Story. However, I was a fan of their cover of the Air Supply hit, “All Out Of Love,” so I was open to giving the song a chance. The song “Heaven Help Me” by Deon Estus was a heart-wrenching plea for help as the narrator reflected on the loneliness and difficulty of dealing with a breakup. Deon expresses a longing for their former partner and pleads with Heaven to help them move on. The change overwhelms him, and he finds comfort in reminiscing about her. Despite their situation, his plea for help reminds him never to give up hope in difficult times.
The Casey twins’ production has always complimented their vocal harmony. Twins Brian Casey & Branden Casey, Richard Wingo, and Kyle Norman deliver some of their familiar four-part harmonies in their rendition. Additionally, the twins produced the song. JE updated the song with more contemporary instrumentation. The added bass line and modern instrumentation give the updated version of the song a sound some will love.
Although the song sounds good enough to satisfy die-hard JE fans, auto-tune isn’t working. We all know that Jagged Edge can sing, and why they use auto-tune is beyond me. The original version is simplistic, which makes the song work. Here it seems like Jagged Edge is chasing trends again. Silk Sonic showed us what can be done with R&B covers last year when they did “Love’s Train,” which catered to the younger generation and old-school fans. Sadly this song is another heartbreak for this JE fan.
Final Grade C-
“Heaven Help Us” isn’t available to stream yet. However, you can view the video here JAGGED EDGE – HEAVEN HELP US (DEON ESTUS REMAKE) – YouTube
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.”
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.