Friday, January 22, 2021

"Never Knew Love Like This" by Alexander O'Neal featuring Cherrelle

Song#:  3382
Date:  01/23/1988
Debut:  82
Peak:  28
Weeks:  14
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  O'Neal's second album, Hearsay, became a #2 R&B/#29 Pop gold seller thanks in part to its first single, "Fake," which got to #1 R&B and #25 Pop. A second single, "Criticize," did well at R&B (#4), but couldn't break through at Pop (#70). Next up for release was this duet single. It was the second pairing of O'Neal and Cherrelle. The first time they teamed up was for "Saturday Love," a track from Cherrelle's 1986 LP High Priority. It would be released as a single and get to #2 R&B/#26 Pop. This second duet would nearly duplicate those results. It would also get to #2 R&B while cracking the Pop Top 30. It also got to #24 at Dance. Two more singles would be released from O'Neal's album, but neither were able to reach the R&B Top 40.

ReduxReview: O'Neal's "Criticize" was a solid tune that should have done better at Pop, but the label should have pushed this song as the second single. If they had, it might have done better. The tune itself was hooky and well-written and had that sleek Jam & Lewis production that was ripe for pop airplay. The strength of the song was on display since it overcame the underwhelming results on the Pop chart of "Criticize." This was an obvious hit that should have made or gotten close to the Pop Top 10.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Although O'Neal would record a holiday album in 1988 titled My Gift to You, his proper third album wouldn't arrive until after the turn of the decade. In 1991, he released All True Man. O'Neal would once again work with the Jam & Lewis team for the LP and the title track would be released as a single. It would become O'Neal's sixth and final R&B Top 10 (#5). However, he wasn't able to grab much crossover attention and the song stalled at #43 on the Pop chart. Still, the album would be a gold-seller. His career would cool off after that. He would continue to record albums over the years, but none would take him back to his hit making days with Jam & Lewis. While successful in the US, O'Neal was even more popular in the UK. He would secure one multi-platinum and four gold selling albums.


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