Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Slow Jam Saturday: Teena Marie, Out On A Limb

In the summer of 2005, I was two years into my Air Force enlistment when I had a DJ gig on a Saturday night. That evening, the news of Luther Vandross’s passing broke, and like most music fans, I felt sad. However, I also regretted turning down the chance to see him perform live in 2002. Since then, I have made it a point to see performers of yesteryear whenever possible. In 2010, adulting got in the way of me seeing the legendary Teena Marie. Sadly, less than six months after that missed opportunity, Lady T passed away.

Thankfully, her music lives on, and I wanted to pay homage to Ms. Marie for this week’s Slow Jam Saturday. The songstress had made her exit from Motown in 1982 for Epic. Marie’s first album with her new label was a commercial failure, but she returned with a vengeance for her sixth album, Starchild, which hit stores on November 11th, 1984. As music fans know, the album features one of Marie’s biggest hits, “Lovergirl.”

But it’s the album’s third single, “Out on a Limb,” I wanted to highlight this week. Marie utilizes her writing and production skills to deliver a heartfelt ballad expression of intense romantic feelings and complete devotion towards another person. The lyrics beautifully portray a profound emotional and physical bond between two individuals.

Marie’s words in the first verse reveal the powerful allure and vulnerability she experiences in her relationship. She likens their connection to a passionate kiss, acknowledging her inability to resist their charm. The phrase “there’s no turning back” indicates that she willingly surrenders herself to this person, fully aware of the consequences. The bridge evokes a sense of confusion and mystery surrounding their relationship. Marie feels captivated and disoriented by her lover’s influence.

Marie feels uncertain yet enchanted in her relationship but also confident about their connection. She bravely takes risks and embraces the relationship with trust and abandon, exposing her vulnerability and stepping out of her comfort zone.

In the second verse, the lyrics highlight the intoxicating pleasure that characterizes their relationship. References to midnight rendezvous and vivid sensory descriptions evoke an atmosphere of intimacy and desire. Marie describes feeling lost yet deeply connected during their shared moments, emphasizing the profound intensity of their love.

Marie’s song ends with a heartfelt expression of her deep longing for emotional and physical connection. She sings, “Hold me, keep me warm inside you and love me,” conveying a strong desire for intimacy and a yearning to embrace her partner’s affection fully.

In “Out on a Limb,” Marie vulnerably expresses her longing for a profound connection and unyielding devotion.

Final Grade: B+

“Out on a Limb” from Starchild is available on all streaming platforms.

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