Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Slow Jam Saturday : Skyy, Real Love

R&B group Skyy was already a decade into their music career with eight albums when they made a comeback in 1989 with the album Start of A Romance. While New Jack Swing was taking over the radio, Skyy didn’t just hop on the latest trend train. During the late 1980s, they dedicated a significant amount of time to refining their sound. They maintained their funk-inspired ethos and incorporated upbeat disco elements to create catchy rhythms.

While I could write an ethos on Skyy’s underrated funk cuts, this is Slow Jam Saturday, and I wanted to highlight one of my favorite cuts from the group, “Real Love.” Group member Solomon Roberts wrote the wrong while handling production with Randy Muller.

Over a heartfelt five minutes, vocalist and group member Denise Dunning Wilkinson effectively croons lyrics about overcoming fear from past experiences of love and opening oneself up to real love. The song suggests that the male protagonist has experienced pain from previous relationships, which makes him hesitant to open up to love again. However, Denise encourages him not to be afraid to feel the way he does and assures him they both feel real love.

The song acknowledges that love comes without guarantees, but the only way to find true love is by taking risks and opening one’s heart. The song closes out with validation that while one is still affected by the memories of past hurtful experiences, we have to be open to giving someone else a chance. She believes their feelings for each other are natural and strong, encouraging him to give love another chance. Ultimately, the song communicates that real love can be scary, but it is worth the risk to open one’s heart and find the real thing.

“Real Love” is one of the songs I would keep repeating during my lonely nights while deployed to Qatar in 2006. Hearing Denise’s sultry yet compassionate voice reassured me that not every woman is like the others who hurt me. So when I found the one six months later, I took a chance on love.

While “Real Love” is the final crossover pop hit for the group thirty-four years later, it still holds up.

Final Grade: B+
“Real Love” from Start of A Romance is available on all streaming platforms.

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Slow Jam Saturday : Ryan Leslie, Valentine

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.

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