Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Slow Jam Saturday : Shelia E, Next Time Wipe the Lipstick Off Your Collar

Sheila E. was born into a musical family and gained recognition through her work with George Duke. In 1984, she released her debut album, The Glamorous Life, which quickly became a hit. The album’s title track and follow-up single, “The Belle of St. Mark,” helped Sheila achieve mainstream success. Her popularity grew even further when she played a role in the hip-hop classic Krush Groove the following year.

I initially had plans to feature the album tomorrow for Second Listen Sunday. However, after revisiting the album track “Next Time Wipe the Lipstick Off Your Collar,” it was clear that the song needed a solo article. The fifth song on the album, “Next Time Wipe the Lipstick Off Your Collar,” is a poignant ballad that delves into the complexities of a woman’s yearning for a loyal and devoted relationship.

In the song, Shelia expresses her doubts about her partner’s faithfulness, which she symbolizes through lipstick stains on his collar. She confronts this issue head-on, hoping for honesty and clarity from her significant other. Shelia acknowledges in the opening verse that grand gestures and materialistic offerings no longer hold any value in their relationship. Instead, she emphasizes the importance of integrity and dignity. The plea to “wipe the lipstick off your collar” is a metaphor for removing evidence of betrayal and embracing transparency in their actions.

The song’s second verse shows Shelia’s happiness with simple moments, like dancing or having casual meals. She values authenticity in her relationship and yearns for a true love built on trust and fidelity. The chorus powerfully expresses her need for a committed partner who values their relationship above all else.

Shelia’s rejection of insincere flattery in the bridge underscores her longing for genuine intimacy. The line “Blame our sex on your run-down battery” suggests that the partner’s excuse for cheating is a feeble attempt to deflect their inadequacies. Throughout the song, Shelia is keenly aware of her partner’s deceit, implying that she already knows the truth.

Sheila frequently reminds her partner to remove the lipstick from his collar, which symbolizes the betrayal and infidelity that have damaged their relationship. By insisting on complete honesty and accountability, she aims to eliminate any traces of dishonesty and emphasize the importance of trust. The lipstick on the collar serves as a reminder that actions have consequences and that trust is a fundamental component of any healthy relationship.

While she has earned the title the “Queen of Percussion,” “Next Time Wipe the Lipstick Off Your Collar” solidifies that Shelia E. can also create one hell of a relatable ballad.

Final Grade: B+

“Next Time Wipe the Lipstick Off Your Collar” from The Glamorous Life is available on all streaming platforms.

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