Wednesday, April 3, 2019

"The Finest" by The S.O.S. Band

Song#:  2727
Date:  05/17/1986
Debut:  82
Peak:  44
Weeks:  13
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  This Atlanta-based band had success with their third and fourth albums, which were both produced (and partially composed) by the team of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. The LPs generated three R&B Top 10 with 1983's On the Rise grabbing a gold certification. Not wanting to mess with a successful formula, the band stayed on with Jam & Lewis for a third time and issued out Sands of Time. All but two of the tracks were written by Jam & Lewis including this lead single. It would be the band's fifth R&B Top 10 hit reaching #2. It would also get to #8 at Dance while nearly cracking the Pop Top 40. Three more singles from the album would make the R&B chart and that helped it become their third gold selling LP. Unfortunately, it would be their last appearance on the Pop chart. Following the album's release, lead singer Mary Davis would depart for a solo career. The band found a replacement and finally got an album out in 1989 (done without Jam & Lewis) that generated one R&B Top 10 hit, but interest in the band waned and after one more non-charting album in 1991, the band split.

ReduxReview:  Jam & Lewis continued to perfect their signature sound with this single. You can hear shades of upcoming Janet Jackson hits along with hints of Human League's "Human." All the elements of Jam & Lewis' work were apparent in the tune, but what it lacked was a stronger chorus. It was definitely a good song, but it just needed a hook with a little more oomph to make it score at Pop. Still, it was a solid track in the production team's growing catalog and it secured them another significant hit at R&B.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) After a low-charting one-off single in 1987, Mary Davis did record a solo album, but it ended up getting shelved. A couple of years later, several tracks got reworked and a formal debut album titled Separate Ways was released in 1990. Its first single was a new track produced and written by the team of L.A. Reid and Babyface, "Don't Wear It Out." The song was a minor hit at R&B reaching #19. The album didn't chart and that ended Davis' major label days.  2) In 2003, British producer Richard X created a mash-up of this song and Human League's 1981 track "The Things That Dreams Are Made Of." It was titled "Finest Dreams" and Richard X secured R&B singer Kelis for the vocals. The song would be a hit in the UK reaching #8.


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