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 : New Kids On The Block, Valentine Girl
Due to Valentine’s Day, February is sometimes known as the month of love. I wanted to try something unique for every Slow Jam Saturday this month by featuring every song and having the word Valentine in the title. First is the sentimental bop “Valentine Girl” from New Kids on The Block.
The year was 1990, and five guys from Dorchester were Pop Music Royalty. Their third album, Step By Step, sold like gangbusters, and their second major concert tour broke records. The B-side to their hit single “Step By Step” was the “Valentine Girl” ballad written and produced by their mentor Maurice Starr. Jordan Knight’s smooth falsetto starts the song before Danny Wood comes in with a robust baritone to lead the song.
Wood and Knight’s voices blend beautifully throughout the song as they sing Star’s lyrics, revealing deep affection and admiration for a woman. The lyrics describe the woman’s eyes sparkling brighter than any star in the sky. Wood uses a Valentine’s Day card to convey their feelings, emphasizing that it’s just one way of expressing their emotions.
Knight’s chorus of the song “Valentine Girl” is particularly noteworthy. The singer’s smooth vocals express a deep commitment toward a woman, urging her to become their “Valentine girl.” The repetition of this phrase emphasizes the singer’s longing for a long-lasting connection with this person, promising to give them their heart forever. This repetition emphasizes the depth of his feelings and the desire for the woman to be a part of their life.
In the second verse, Wood acknowledges that sending flowers is insufficient compared to being physically present with this person. Despite the recent meeting, the singer declares that they are already everything to them, highlighting the strength of their emotional attachment.
I didn’t get a chance to see the New Kids live during their prime. Still, I can imagine that this was a massive song in the nineties for female fans in the audience as it captures the excitement, tenderness, and sense of deep connection that can accompany falling in love for the first time.
Final Grade: B+
“Valentine Girl” 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.