Wednesday, August 11, 2021

"K.I.S.S.I.N.G." by Siedah Garrett

Song#:  3579
Date:  07/16/1988
Debut:  97
Peak:  97
Weeks:  1
Genre:  R&B, Funk, Dance

Pop Bits:  This singer/songwriter started to gain experience in the music business in the early 80s. Her initial break came when she joined the funk group Plush, who released a self-titled debut album in '82. It didn't get very far only generating minor entries on the R&B and Dance charts. She then worked mainly as a background vocalist, but in '84 unexpectedly became Dennis Edwards' duet partner on the #2 R&B hit "Don't Look Any Further" (#72 Pop). Her career took a swing upward when she got hooked up with Quincy Jones and his label Qwest. She sang the song "Do You Want It Right Now" for the soundtrack to the dance/drama flick Fast Forward. The single got to #3 Dance/#63 R&B. Garrett's biggest breakthrough came when she became Michael Jackson's duet partner on the #1 single "I Just Can't Stop Loving You." She also co-wrote Jackson's #1 hit "Man in the Mirror." With her name and talent getting recognized, it was time for Garrett to record her own solo album. She would record Kiss of Life for the Qwest label with producers Rod Temperton and Dick Rudolph. This first single was issued out and it did well on the Dance chart getting to #1. It became a medium hit at R&B reaching #16, but it barely crossed over to the Pop chart where it spent one lone week near the bottom. Two other singles would be released, but neither charted. The album could only manage a #41 showing at R&B. With those results, Garrett took a step back and then mainly sang and wrote for other artists.

ReduxReview:  Garrett is a very good vocalist, however I don't think she has a distinctive voice. While that is great for a background vocalist, for a lead singer it's a detriment unless you are paired with can't-miss hit songs and the problem with Garrett's debut LP is that she didn't find (or compose) the right material. With Quincy Jones on her side and Rod Temperton in the producer's seat, it would seem that Garrett had pick-o-tha-litter when it came to songs, yet she ended up with a lot of bland material that wasn't going to elevate her beyond "that person who sang on Michael Jackson's song." There were some good folks involved including L.A. Reid and Babyface, but no one was really bringing their A-game including a usually reliable Temperton who supplied three tunes including "Groove of Midnight," a track Michael Jackson demoed and then rejected from Bad. Frankly, I think this lead single was a bit of a mess. Garrett's voice was lost behind a cacophony of production and there was little in the way of a memorable melody or hook. I can't even understand what she is singing half the time. It also seems like Temperton was trying to make the song sound like a Michael Jackson track and directed Garrett to do a Jackson impersonation. None of it worked and any hope of Garrett having a successful solo career was lost. It somehow got to #1 at Dance, but even that did little for Garrett or the album. Her voice and writing skills served her better behind the scenes and it seems like she carved out a nice career after this disappointing debut.

ReduxRating:  2/10

Trivia:  Garrett's writing skills would later earn her two Oscar nominations in the Best Original Song category. For the 2006 film version of the Broadway hit Dreamgirls, Garrent would co-write a new song with the show's original composer Henry Krieger. "Love You I Do" would be sung in the film by Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. Then for the 2012 animated film Rio, Garrett would co-write "Real in Rio." Neither would win the Oscar, but "Love You I Do" would win a Grammy for Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media.


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