Hey there. Remember me? I’m even asking myself that question these days. Nothing like a pandemic to put things into perspective.
Talking with an old friend tonight about all the flux in the world, she insisted that I write it all down, and she was spot on. So PMN may be a bit off brand in the coming weeks and months, but since everything eventually leads to music, I don’t think that will be much of a problem. I need to get some things off my head and into words. Hopefully you’ll find some value it as well. Until then, here’s some Robyn to help you dream on…
Sometimes the Universe sends you the music you need right at the moment you need it. Such was the case for me twenty-one years ago when Janet Jackson released The Velvet Rope. It’s not as if Janet’s music hadn’t resonated with me in the past, as I was a die-hard fan from the first time I heard “What Have You Done for Me Lately” on the radio. But 1997 was a pretty challenging year for me, and Rope was an anchor for me emotionally when I felt like I was isolated and alone.
At the turn of 1997, I was dealing with the breakup of my first long-term relationship (six months…ha!) while living in North Carolina away from my family and friends, and I wasn’t handling it well. Even though I started to pull things together by the middle of 1997, “adrift” is probably the best word I can use to describe where my head was. The only thing that really kept life moving forward for me was my job managing a record store in High Point. I constantly found myself excited by new releases, including the unfortunately posthumous Notorious BIG album Life After Death.
When The Velvet Rope came out, I was struck by how sonically different it was from the previous janet. record, and how it was so bold and out there when talking about sexuality. I listened to the record over and over, and was struck specifically by the vibe of “Freexone.” Those who knew me in the late 90s online knew me as Freexoner. If loving who you want to love is the Freexone, then I declared myself to be a Freexoner. The name still lives on in a few places if you look hard enough for them. 😉
Besides the personal impact of “Freexone,” Janet’s choice of covering Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” also struck a chord. Growing up, Rod’s A Night on the Town got a lot of play in our house, and it doesn’t hurt that “Tonight’s” was the number one song of 1977 in the US, making it hard to avoid. Janet’s delivery was very coy and more seductive than Rod’s, and I’m sure some of the mystique behind who the song was about helped keep interest in the album going.
I bring all of this up now because I’ve undertaken a project to re-acquire some of the music that has meant the most to me over the years in the formats I originally owned them. I’ve got The Velvet Rope on CD, but there are a few albums that I’d also like to have on vinyl to display and stand out from the collection. Turns out that there aren’t that many copies of the album floating around out there, easily pushing the price of a good copy up into the hundreds of dollars. Today in the remaining minutes of an auction on eBay, the price jumped from $85 to $189 in a matter of 30 seconds. All I can say is that I helped that seller make a nice profit today by pushing my final bid to $185. I’m not sure I would do that again, but my desire to have the album may force me to do so. Only time and my bank account will tell.
I’m not sure if this is a resurrection of the blog, or just a one-off, but I’ve had this post in the back of my mind for a while, and today’s auction just cemented my need to finish what had been a draft from last year. However, as the music starts rolling in, I may be inspired to share more of it. Stranger things have happened. All I know is that I have huge regrets with some of the music I sold years ago in times of limited finances. Can you say The Black Album on original vinyl? That’s not one of the items I will be re-acquiring, but the shelf is starting to fill in.
A year ago this Labor Day weekend I was wrapping up a whirlwind weekend in Minneapolis/St. Paul with my friend Blake, trying to process a whole lot of emotions. Besides spending time with a close friend, which is always a good thing, I got to get some closure on Prince’s passing. To some, this might be silly, but Prince was one of three guiding musical influences in my teens that helped make me who I am. If you had told me that before the age of 50 that I would lose all three of them (Michael Jackson and George Michael were the other two), I wouldn’t have believed you. But here I am, still moved every time one of them pops up in daily life. While George was the one I related to personally, MJ and Prince brought joy and passion to the plate in ways that changed the music industry and influenced future generations.
Why am I writing this now? Besides the one-year mark, I need to get some of this out. I have about 10 blog posts from over the past two years that have never seen the light of day because I either wasn’t driven enough to finish them or I felt like I couldn’t do them justice. I was deeply moved by much of the stories and art I saw on the fence at Paisley Park, and yet, for a while there, anything I came up with to relate my story felt inadequate in comparison. Even my year-end compilation was over a month late this year.
I can’t make any promises because I’ve broken a few of these in the past, but if nothing else, I want to finish those posts that make sense to finish. If nothing else, it’s time I pay proper tribute to my personal Holy Trinity. Stay tuned…
If you follow me at all on social media (@PopMusicNotes to be exact), then you know that 2016 was not a good year in my eyes. Whether it was politics, family losses or idol losses, I didn’t have a great ride last year. Having said that, there still was amazing music that captured my ears and heart. These aren’t the only songs to move me over those 12 months, but they’re the most memorable in retrospect to me.
Ariana Grande – “Into You”
A little bit scandalous, but baby, don’t let them see it
A little less conversation and a little more touch my body
Someone in Ariana’s camp is doing a bang-up job with picking material for her that plays to all aspects of her audience. Whether it was the left-field smolder of “Dangerous Woman,” the duet with attention-grabbing Nicki on “Side to Side,” or the pop perfection of “Into You,” Ariana came back from some poor PR in a strong way. Lyrically “Into You” is okay, but sonically it’s everything I want in a great pop song.
Jon Bellion – “Guillotine”
The secrets you tell me I’ll take to my grave
There’s bones in my closet, but you hang stuff anyway
Jon’s been building a rep in the industry for a few years, but 2016 was the year that the hard work came to fruition. You’re probably hearing “All Time Low” on your radio right now, and that’s a good thing since it’s a stone-cold jam, a major earworm, and a lyrical triumph (“You’re the reason I’m alone and I masturbate”…who else can fit a line like that into a mainstream pop song?). But “Guillotine” was the track that grabbed my ear and caused me to be obsessed for weeks early this summer. The way Bellion puts together a track with crazy disparate parts turns an ordinary cut into a pop music Voltron. “All Time Low” looks like it’s peaking on the pop charts, so here’s hoping “Guillotine” is single number two from Jon’s The Human Condition opus.
Bright Light Bright Light – “Symmetry of Two Hearts”
One kiss and the ice might melt, remember
One word and the world might fall at your feet
Anyone who has read this blog over the years knows that I totally stan for Rod Thomas, aka Bright Light Bright Light. His music consistently comes up in my conversations about year-end favorites, and this year was no exception. Choreography seems like the most mainstream album that BLBL has released, and yet I’ve felt that about each of his previous releases as well. While it’s frustrating to a long-time fan who wants to see Rod conquer the pop charts, I love that he has the freedom to record the material he wants, release it on his own terms, and then promote it in a way that feels authentic and honest to the music. “Symmetry” and the video that accompanies it (plus some brilliant remixes) all embrace that spirit, and I kept this on repeat for months.
The 1975 – “The Sound”
It’s not about reciprocation, it’s just all about me
A sycophantic, prophetic, socratic junkie wannabe
It seems like everyone is offering up The 1975’s “Somebody Else” as their favorite track from I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, but for me “The Sound” was THE sound. Such a catchy hook, and the lyrics are just ambiguous enough that you can read them as being about a superficial lover, an inability to commit, fame, or wanting more from a relationship. Following last year’s “Shut Up and Dance,” this was a tune that demanded you turn up the volume and enjoy it no matter where you were at.
SHINee – “1 of 1”
Neon ‘1 of 1’ girl
Bruno Mars may have come back with a 80s/90s R&B-influenced album, but SHINee got a head start on him with their new-jack jam “1 of 1.” They’ve had a tendency toward 90s pop/R&B (see 2012’s “Sherlock“), and “1 of 1” keeps that streak going. The album of the same name is strong, with other highlights including “Feel Good” and “Don’t Let Me Go.”
Lady Gaga – “Perfect Illusion”
I felt you touchin’ me
High like amphetamine
Maybe you’re just a dream
To those who think that Gaga’s comeback this year was a disappointment, I will suggest that maybe you wanted more of the same from her, and no legitimate artist can keep doing that. For me, Joanna was a welcome departure from gimmicks to a more down to earth production. That’s not to say that Gaga isn’t still out there, but from the first time I heard “Perfect Illusion,” I was smitten by how she pointed her vision in a different direction and still delivered. Pop perfection to my ears.
William Michael Morgan – “Vinyl”
Let the needle drop and play it all night
Might have a little static but it’s all right
Ain’t nothin’ gonna stop our groove, no
2016 was not a great year for Country music and myself. Although Country radio continued its shift away from Bro Country, I didn’t feel like a lot of the music on the radio was very inspiring. And let’s be clear…there’s a difference between mainstream Country and Americana, which should be getting airplay but is relegated to the fringes even though some Americana albums outsell their airplay-ready counterparts. Fortunately, William Michael Morgan was a traditional standout. Mainstream radio played “I Met a Girl,” while The Highway on SiriusXM went with “Vinyl.” The analogy is so simple, but it works.
Empire of the Sun – “High and Low”
Let’s get together and forget all the troubles and just float
I don’t want you to go
I need to be closer to now
Some songs transport you away from your hum drum existence, and Empire of the Sun’s “Walking on a Dream” always did that for me in its multiple runs on my iPod. I don’t have a lot to say about “High and Low” other than that it should have been a hit, but it never quite had the same effect as “Dream.” Hopefully they can recover from Two Vines not making much impact on the charts.
Keith Urban – The Fighter (featuring Carrie Underwood)
To heal all the pain that he put you through
It’s a love like you never knew
Just let me show you
I think a lot of music fans tend to write off Keith Urban at times because he has a tendency to fall into current country pop formulas, but Ripcord is a solid set that relies more on solid songwriting and classic hooks. Such is the case with “The Fighter,” which is reportedly the next single going to Country radio. This was my go-to summer song, and it will probably be a great summer song this coming year as well because it’s guaranteed to go to pop radio once it’s done on the Country charts.
Maggie Rogers – “Alaska”
And I walked off you
And I walked off an old me
Oh me oh my I thought it was a dream
My favorite song of 2016 by a wide margin was “Alaska.” Maggie Rogers came to fame through the now-infamous video where Pharrell was blown away by this song, but Maggie didn’t just rest on that viral clip. The song, the video, the soon-to-arrive EP and national tour…she seized on that first burst of fame and is coming for you in 2017. But for me it’s all about the song: “And I walked off an old me.” As someone who hikes to get away and clear my head, that was my lyric of the year, and the sonic portrait that Rogers created using ambient sounds as well as undeniable hooks drove it home.
Today marks one year since I heard the news that Frankie Knuckles passed away, and I still feel the sting of that information. It’s made all the more profound because in some ways, I had almost forgotten about Frankie for a good decade.
That’s not to say that Frankie’s influence on me, dance music, and music in general had disappeared. If anything, imagine your eccentric uncle flying to Europe and loving it so much he stayed for a decade or so, because that’s what basically happened with House music. Its homeland of the United States may have given up on it like its predecessor disco, but Europe took up the House call and helped it evolve in different directions. And then, as with many other classic sounds, it returned with a vengeance.
My first contact with Frankie’s music came in college working at radio stations that had dance shows on the weekend. When Frankie dropped “The Whistle Song,” I was instantly taken. “Rain Falls,” “It’s Hard Sometimes,” “Workout”…his first album Beyond the Mix is a BEAST! This was also one of the first times I was aware that a DJ could actually be considered a musician as well. That’s a naive assumption in this day and age of David Guetta and Calvin Harris, but at the time it rocked my world.
While Frankie’s original music is the stuff of legends, a case could be made that his remixes will always be the strongest part of his legacy. I remember moments in my life when a Frankie Knuckles remix moved me: the first time I heard the Def Mix of Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You,” being stopped dead in my tracks as the opening a capella of perhaps his best remix “The Pressure” evolved into a full-fledged gospel house explosion, and the moment that I started healing from a painful breakup thanks to being on the dance floor as his interpretation of “Unbreak My Heart” rocked me to my core. I was ravenous, finding remixes as varied as Loose Ends, Lisa Stansfield, Rufus & Chaka Khan, and the Pet Shop Boys.
Soul music has been a passion of mine as long as I can remember, dating all the way back to hearing my mom’s Barry White’s Greatest Hits on a Saturday morning in our third-floor apartment in Syracuse. The tone, the depth, the contrasting hard and soft elements…all of it resonates with me deeply. As the 80s progressed, I got into more than just the crossover R&B tracks, discovering artists like Luther Vandross, Rene & Angela, Chaka Khan, Five Star and Freddie Jackson, with Michael Jackson acting as a gateway melody for my eager ears to follow. All of this lead me to House, and along with elements of Techno and Eurodance in the 90s, I soaked it all up.
As the 90s ended, I drifted…the Frankie mixes surfaced less frequently, leading me to take up the torch for collectives like Thunderpuss and Soul Solution. But all it would take was an older remix to pop up and I was reminiscing. Still, it wasn’t until around 2010 that I really re-introduced Frankie into my personal rotation, but I made up for lost time. If there was a compilation, I was on it. Then he dropped “Get Over U,” and I was stunned. Frankie had created a jam that not only was an instant classic in my eyes, but if given a chance should have been an International pop/dance hit. In fact, I named “Get Over U” my number six song of 2012.
I learned about Frankie’s death on Twitter, and I was heartbroken. He was actively traveling around the world for DJ gigs, he was back in the remix game (Ariana Grande’s “Baby I,” Mapei’s “Don’t Wait”), and the thought of him being gone was unimaginable for me at that moment. My mind raced to all of those listed moments he helped define, and the kinship I felt with a man I never met, and the sorrow was surprisingly deep. It probably took a few weeks for me to not think about his passing on a daily basis, and that shook me. I have only had that reaction to two other musicians passing: Michael Jackson and Luther Vandross. Michael lifted my spirits, Luther comforted me in my lonely hours, and Frankie spoke to my soul.
To honor his memory and raise funds for the Frankie Knuckles Fund, Defected Records is releasing a 2 CD compilation of tracks that Frankie had started compiling prior to his passing. It’s a solid track listing, and comes with a t-shirt of Frankie that was created specifically for this fundraiser. I’m hoping a US online shop carries it, as the shipping is a bit steep, but I’m on board. In the meantime, I’ll continue to play his continuous mixes and shuffle through my House playlist on my iPod, picturing the Godfather of House behind the decks, mixing tracks and releasing demons all in one shot.
I have compiled my music in one place as long as I’ve been able to possess music. From filing my 45s in order to recording a lot of music off the radio onto cassette tapes, it’s been a bit of an obsession. So when the 80GB and 160 GB iPods came on the scene, I HAD to have one. Why I bought the 80 instead of the larger model still boggles my mind (it wasn’t THAT much different in price), but that’s what I went with. It was my second iPod…the first just didn’t have enough space for me to carry ALL the music everywhere I went.
Calvin was purchased from Apple in 2006, and I took advantage of the free engraving. Feeling a tad subversive, I chose “This iPod’s mine, BETCH!” because the profanity filter at that factory in China wouldn’t catch it, plus I was trapped in a Kelly/”Shoes” phase that wouldn’t let go for quite a while. (Side note: “Shoes” holds up much better than it should) As I prepared to drive across the Midwest and move to Michigan the following year, first and foremost in preparations was creating playlists to power the cross-country drive, and now I didn’t have to worry about creating tapes or burning discs. I just had to figure out how to play the thing in a truck (thank you FM transmitter).
I’ve gone through three or four sport bands that hold Calvin when we go to the gym or for a run, and I’ve been through a LOT of headphones. Currently I have a pair of Yurbuds that won’t slip out when I’m drenched in sweat, and the plastic covers do a nice job of blocking outside noise. Sometimes when I’m on a plane, I’ll wear the headphones just to get peace and quiet without the iPod on.
A lot of the writeups about iPod Classic’s demise (a totally appropriate name, given the ground it broke back in 2001) have stated “sales of the iPod Classic have dropped in recent years,” and that is a true statement. However, it’s not a fair statement to make in this day and age where Apple regularly updates its products every 12-24 months to improve technology and drive sales. Calvin hasn’t received a software update in years, and between his amazing battery life and solid package, he hasn’t really needed it. This should be a testament to great engineering and how long-lasting technology can still exist. Sadly, that long-lasting technology most likely contributed to its demise. There is no money these days in quality, just quantity.
Man, this is reading like an obituary, isn’t it? And it shouldn’t. Calvin is alive and well and hopefully will be doing so for quite a while. The little spider cracks in the upper right corner of his screen are more like crows’ feet to me. Neither of us are as shiny as we were when we first appeared, but we’re both still kicking. I’ve already compressed the quality of my music on Calvin to fit more on his limited memory and he’s handling it like a champ. But I may have to find a backup, just in case.
I have had this window open for two days now, and I am genuinely torn on what to write. The fact that I’m even contemplating that title is a good thing, but what that means, I’m not fully sure.
I went a whole year without posting here. A whole year. And at times it hurt me deeply to realize that’s what I was hurtling toward. Around early December, I got the urge to post, but at that point, I figured why not round it up to a year and start from there. It’s not as if I haven’t been writing. There have been articles and reviews with a local website called MileHighGayGuy that have kept me engaged at times, and then there was a brief stint contributing to Popblerd and Friends that was a blast.
So I sit here staring at the screen, debating if I even go on when a tweet comes through. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s new album Scenes from the Movie is now streaming on Amazon, and it is stellar. I have to write about this.
It’s a song that you danced to in high school It’s a moon you tried to bring down On a four-in-the-morning drive through the streets of town
Yes, there will be album reviews. Yes, there will be rants and reflections on musically related topics. And hopefully, those of you who visit this blog will feel moved to jump in and leave thoughts and rebuttals that will spur conversation. If there is one thing I love as much as music, it is talking about music. If you will indulge me that little request, I would be a happy and fortunate man. “Come on, come on…”
No…I’m not going anywhere. Not right now anyway. If anything, I’ve been around a lot more lately. Something has been pushing me to pick the keyboard back up and write more in the past two weeks than I have the past two months, and I’m glad for the incentive no matter where it is coming from.
Some of you who know me may think that I am a sentimental kind of guy, but I tend not to dwell too much on the past. My life has been geared forward since I was young as if my best days were ahead of me, and that drive has served me well. Much of my life has been spent thinking “I can’t wait to get to [enter life change here].” However, the last year has seen a bit of a change in that charging-forward attitude. My mortality has come into view a bit more clearly, and as a result, I have been contemplating what happens when we leave this existence we call life. In case you’re wondering, I don’t have any answers for you. It is safe to say that if I did, I wouldn’t be here to type up this post.
I want to tell you a little bit about my friend Ty, someone else who had a “forward” drive. Ty came into my life three years ago as my partner and I were first dating. While we had met once, it wasn’t until a rodeo in July of 2009 that we really got to connect. By the time that weekend was over, I felt like I had been adopted by an older sister. Unfortunately, four months later that newly acquired relative ended up in the hospital with a diagnosis of cancer so aggressive that we were told she only had months to live. Well, months became years, and despite multiple end-of-life predictions, Ty soldiered on. Everyone around her was in awe of the way that she continued to beat the odds. That is, until two weeks ago. I have been told that the passing was peaceful and on her own terms, and for that I am grateful.
People outside of Ty’s inner circle think that she showed a lot of courage in the face of her prognosis, but sadly I know otherwise. She was terrified, as I think most of us would be. So terrified that she never allowed herself to know how serious her diagnosis was until near the end because she wanted to stay positive and fight. However well-intentioned this thinking was, there is no denying that all of us have an expiration date. Unless you die instantaneously in a freak circumstance, you will have to at least think about coming to terms with the inevitable. Please don’t think I am criticizing, because the strength that Ty showed throughout the past three years was amazing and awe-inspiring. In a perfect world, someone would show that strength while confronting their mortality, but what works for one person doesn’t for another and I am not here to judge the decisions that someone facing the end makes.
All of this has made me wonder how I will handle myself when my time arrives. Not only for myself, but also those I love. And then I came across a review of the new single by Country duo Joey + Rory, and I lost it. You are going to need a tissue box for this video. Don’t try to be tough…just give in to the suggestion.
“Just give it time
We’ll both be fine
When I’m gone”
I have no doubt my friend is fine now. Better than fine, even. No suffering, no worries, no doubt. I wish I could say the same about those of us she left behind, but we’ll get there. Eventually we all get there. The only consolation I have in all of this is the time I got to spend with Ty. While it may be cliched to say, my life is a better place for having known her.
Back in the late 1990s, Mick Fleetwood pulled together “of the moment” artists (Jewel, Tonic, Tori Amos, etc) to cover songs from Fleetwood Mac’s epic Rumours album for a compilation called Legacy. The album was decent enough, but the bigger impact was that it kept the Rumours legacy alive. Most would argue that the mid 1970s was the peak of Fleetwood Mac’s creative output, and that corresponds with a lot of strife and drama occurring between the band’s members at the time. Pain begets art, I suppose. But Rumours is a testament to the theory that a band of Fleetwood Mac’s caliber is greater than the sum of its parts. All five members are wildly talented in their own way, but none would ever see the level of success that Rumours achieved in their own solo work.
Fourteen years later, and we have another Fleetwood Mac cover album, this time covering their full output and not just one album. Just Tell Me That You Want Me (a lyric from 1979’s “Tusk”) arrives on August 14th, but the tracks are available to listen to here. The artists on this compilation are less mainstream than the 1998 Tribute album, but from what I’ve heard, it’s clear that even indie bands are influenced by the Mac. Some of the tracks take on a new life in the hands of these interpreters, such as The Kills bringing an ominous vibe to “Dreams,” but it’s not always welcome. Best Coast misfire big-time with their perky version of “Rhiannon,” clashing with the less-than-optimistic original.
For me, the key to a great covers album is either the new versions are updated without losing the heart of the original or the artists covering the songs bring out something that wasn’t there originally. One of my favorite covers is from Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, who brings his distinct vocals to the 1975 gem “Landslide.” Antony doesn’t bring anything new to Landslide” in terms of interpretation, but his vocals soar on a song that has varied meanings to so many people.
On a personal note, this song has had multiple meanings to me through the years, but right now the line “I’m getting older too” drives it home. Rumours was a staple on our turntable as I was growing up, but I didn’t discover “Landslide” until Fleetwood Mac released their live album The Chain in 1997. I’ve related this song to a relationship ending, moving away from family and friends, and now the simple act of aging. Whether Stevie Nicks wrote this song about career choices, drug addiction or any other inspiration, it remains a brilliant song that so many people can relate to. On a day like today (July 20, 2012), when at least 12 of my fellow Coloradoans have been shot down in a gratuitous act of violence, words do not come to mind easily to make sense of it. Hearing Antony’s version of “Landslide” this morning at least met my uneasiness with a small sliver of comfort. That is a sign of a great song and a great performance connecting with a listener, and for that I am grateful.
Today marks the one year anniversary of Teena Marie’s passing. When I heard about her death (via Twitter, like we do), I was stunned. Even thought she hadn’t had a hit in a few years, she was still releasing albums and touring, and I easily could have imagined her becoming the grand dame of R&B. Leaving this world as soon as she did should not have even been an option.
For those of you who don’t know, Teena was not only a white woman who found success singing R&B, she was also a pioneer in the business, inadvertently leading the charge on how artist contracts were drawn up and how artists were paid. While that in itself is something to be proud of, I would be surprised if that’s a victory she would have even claimed. From the way she chased down a recording contract to the innovative way her career laid itself out, Teena Marie was no one’s puppet. She was her own woman, and even when being molded by a producer and writer as strong-willed as Rick James, her power never flagged. In fact, James was gasoline to Marie’s flame, and there is no stronger proof of this than their duet “Fire and Desire” from his 1981 album Street Songs. The clip below is a rare video of the two of them in their prime performing “Fire” live, and the passion between those two fiery souls must have been amazing to witness live:
While I knew the music that Teena Marie was making in the early 80s, it wasn’t until 1984’s Starchild with the #4 pop hit “Lovergirl” that my attention was fully captured. Starchild hit high rotation on my tape deck, but it was “Out on a Limb” that quickly became my jam. I was 15 years old, but somehow this woman’s ode to an amazing love resonated with me. We speak about “the best” this and that, but for me, “Out on a Limb” is one of the greatest R&B ballads of the past 50 years. It was timely and timeless, all at the same time, and Teena’s delivery elevated it above just a solid song into a blueprint of how you sing a ballad. Singers like Shirley Murdock owe Teena Marie a great debt for utilizing her influence in making their own hit records. While the song was not a hit at the time, it quickly became a Quiet Storm staple on R&B stations across the US.
Surprisingly, some of Teena Marie’s most enduring songs were never hits. Along with “Out on a Limb” is “Deja Vu (I’ve Been Here Before),” a song that appeared on her first album Wild and Peaceful. Despite it never being a single, it is a signature Teena Marie track that remained a favorite at her concerts up until her death last year. You would never know that the song was written by Rick James by the way she sang it because the conviction of her delivery made it her own from the opening lines: “I’m young and I’m old/I’m rich and I’m poor/I feel like I’ve been on this Earth many times before.” [Update: if you check the comments, you’ll see that Teena revised her opinion on who wrote “Deja Vu.”]
No matter what adversity or challenges she experienced in her life, it was clear that music was her passion instead of her job and nothing would deter her from sharing it with the world. We should all be that lucky. Rest in peace, Lady Tee. Your memory and your music lives on.