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: Frankie J
Frankie J experienced his first taste of stardom as a member of the Kumbia Kings before embarking on a solo career with his debut album What’s A Man to Do in 2003. He followed that project up with a self-titled Spanish language album and then delivered another English language album, The One, in 2005.
Frankie’s label pulled out all the stops for his third album, linking the singer with producers such as Soulshock & Karlin, Irv Gotti, Bryan-Michael Cox, and Mario Winans. While the popular choice for Slow Jam Saturday would be to revisit his cover of “More Than Words” or the Cox-produced “How To Deal,” I decided to go with an album track. For the album’s tenth track, Frankie linked up with Troop member and highly underrated songwriter Steve Russell for “Gone.”
Rusell had already made a name outside of Troop, writing hits for artists such as B2K, Marques Houston, Avant, and The Whispers. So it was a no-brainer to have Frankie J work with him. Rusell pens a heartfelt ballad about the pain of losing someone due to one’s own mistakes. The lyrics depict the narrator’s struggles to cope with the aftermath of a failed relationship. The song is especially poignant because the narrator realizes he is to blame for his lover leaving him.
He is left to regret his actions and tries to cope with his loss by reflecting on his past actions. In the first verse, the narrator expresses his difficulty sleeping and coming to terms with the fact that he is alone. He realizes that his past relationships have played a part in shaping who he is. But now, he regrets his actions toward his lover, who left him for good. The chorus repeats the theme of his lover leaving, reiterated by the repetition of “gone, gone, gone .” Frankie laments that his lover has moved on and is not thinking about him anymore. He recognizes that it is his fault for not giving her his all.
Frankie feels lonely and miserable in the second verse since his lady love left. His pain is intense, and he compares it to a hollow point in their heart. He is ready to take responsibility for the separation and finds moving on hard. As Frankie croons Russell’s lyrics about feeling lost without his partner, we can all relate to the regret of turning your back on a former love. The song’s ending gives a feeling of closure as it implies that the person mentioned in the song has left for good.
A heartfelt and reflective song that portrays the sorrow and remorse that often come with the end of a relationship, “Gone” still holds up eighteen years later. It could have been a hit if a more prominent artist had this song. e,” Steve Russell showed off his impeccable songwriting talent and gave Frankie a slow cut I still have in my rotation.
Final Grade: B+
“Gone” by Frankie J from The One 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.”
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.