Friday, March 29, 2019

"We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off" by Jermaine Stewart

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2722
Date:  05/17/1986
Debut:  90
Peak:  5
Weeks:  22
Genre:  R&B, Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Stewart's debut album, The Word Is Out, was a modest seller thanks to the title track reaching #17 at R&B and #41 Pop. Follow-up singles failed to chart, but his label seemed confident he had more to offer and let Stewart head back into the studio to record his second LP, Frantic Romantic. For the majority of tracks, Stewart worked with hot-at-the-time producer Narada Michael Walden. Walden would produce seven of the album's nine tracks and would also co-write four of them including this first single. When it was released near the beginning of '86, the tune made it to the R&B chart, but it peaked at a low #64 in late March. It also got to #41 on the Dance chart. At the time it failed to make the Pop chart, but for whatever reason, nearly two months later the song started to get picked up by Pop radio. After a low debut, the song slowly climbed the chart until it finally got inside the Top 10. It would be Stewart's first and only song to reach the Pop Top 10. The hit helped the album become his best seller reaching #34 at Pop and #31 R&B.

ReduxReview:  When I hear this song I always thing about when I was a DJ at a skating rink. The owners of the rink were just a bit on the conservative side and on occasion they would ban a song from being played, mainly due to lyrics. The kids loved this song and I got to play it a couple of times before one of the owners told me not to play it anymore because of the lyrics. It kind of confused me and I asked him if he knew this song was about abstinence and it wasn't dirty. He said that he knew that and was fine with it, but what he objected to was the line "and drink some cherry wine." Apparently he thought it promoted alcohol and he didn't want to expose kids to that message. I thought it weird considering some of the other songs we played that had far worse lyrics (which they just were oblivious to). Of course I obliged but told him it was the #1 requested song at the rink. He told me if anyone had issues, send them to him. So I did. He was hounded by about twenty tweens and teenagers asking why they couldn't skate to that song. After about a day or so, he relented and the record went back in the mix. Ah, the DJ days. Anyway, this was a fun song that many folks enjoyed, but it also had a bit of a dark undertone. It came along during the heyday of AIDS and it was kind of meant to be a message to be careful. At the time, the general public didn't know Jermaine Stewart was gay, so the underlying message may have been missed by some. Sadly, Steward died from AIDS-related cancer later in 1997. So while the song is a good jam to hear, it has a poignant side as well.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The video for this song was directed by David Fincher. Fincher's career began to take off when he started working on music videos. His first ones were for Rick Springfield and The Motels. The letterbox style of filming that he did for Stewart's track got him further attention and more work would follow. He would end up winning two Grammys and three MTV Music Video awards for his work with artists like The Rolling Stones and Madonna (her famous "Vogue" video). He expanded his talents to directing films beginning with 1992's Alien 3, but his second film, Seven, really put him on the map. He would go on to direct hit films like Fight Club and Panic Room along with a couple that got him Oscar nods for Best Director - 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and 2010's The Social Network.


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