Friday, October 28, 2016

"Love Me in a Special Way" by DeBarge

Song#:  1832
Date:  03/17/1984
Debut:  89
Peak:  45
Weeks:  11
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  This family group got their second Pop Top 20 and first R&B #1 with "Time Will Reveal," the first single from their third LP In a Special Way. For a follow-up, this song was chosen. Like "Time Will Reveal," the lead vocal was handled by El DeBarge. He wrote the tune as well. It just missed out on the R&B Top 10 getting to #11 while just missing out on the Pop Top 40. It also stopped short of the AC Top 20 stalling at #21. The combined performances of the singles were enough to get the album to gold level - their second in a row.

ReduxReview:  After the beautiful "Time Will Reveal," which was their third ballad single in a row, I expected something more upbeat for the follow-up. Instead, they stayed on the ballad path and issued this gospel-influenced tune. It's a lovely song, but I don't think it works very well as a single. Indeed, it kind of sputtered out before becoming a significant hit. I'm actually surprised it performed as well as it did. I think the group was realizing they were stuck in a ballad rut and needed to get out of it. They would do so on their next LP. What was strange was that "Time" and this song were the only ones released as singles from the album. For an album that was selling well, the lack of a third single was quite unusual. It would be a year before DeBarge would be on the charts again.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Stevie Wonder guest stars on this single playing harmonica.  2) Initially, the plan for this album was that each sibling would submit two songs for the album and perform the lead vocals. That idea didn't work out so well. By the time the album was set to go, El sang lead on four songs, he and Bunny shared vocals on two, Bunny sang one, and James lead two. For the most part, El, James, and Bunny wrote all the songs (individually and together). Bunny wrote and sang the LP's anchor track "A Dream." It became a popular radio track at R&B and would end up getting sampled by several artists. It can be heard on Blackstreet's 1997 R&B Airplay #1 hit "Don't Leave Me" and, more recently, on the 2015 Fifth Harmony track "We Know." R&B star Mary J. Blige covered the tune for the soundtrack to the 1997 film Money Talks.


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