Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Stevie B.-Right Here, Right Now! (1998)


How's about something fresh out of my Freestyle collection? There's a double meaning to that, as the opening remarks to my music features often are. In the first sense, it's me bringing back a bit of that old 80's street slang, referring to anything that's highly attractive and approved of. In the second sense, I literally mean fresh, as in me having just listened to something from the huge music collection of legendary Freestyle music king, Stevie B. It had been a while since I last tuned in to one of the biggest pioneers of the Miami Freestyle scene of the 80's, so when 1998's "Right Here, Right Now!" was requested, I decided to treat myself 'right here, right now', in agreement with that exact title. I keep finding that, no matter what year that any given Freestyle album is released, the music on it always sounds like the 80's to me. Well, most of it. That's definitely the case with great jams such as "Each Time", "If You Ever Believed", "Miracles In The Summertime", "Promise To Share" and "If You Leave Me Now". Always easy to get into and always easy to love—that's why 80's music, or music that sounds like the 80's, is never gonna go away. "Each Time", though, has a noticeable hint of that 90's house flavor embedded alongside that classic 80's Freestyle sound and the wailing orchestral melody, but it's not too overpowering to where you would believe that the song was produced back in my favorite decade. My favorite of these Freestyle beats? "Summer Nights", I'd have to say, with its cool melody and its romantic, driving-around-at-night-in-the-summer-breeze feel. Sure would've been nice to have gotten some extra beats out of this one—in the form of an instrumental or a nice extended 6+ minute remix, perhaps. That's just me thinking it was too short for my personal taste. Thinking more about romance, I love those Freestyle tunes with the dreamy melodies and the guy's tender vocals delivering the sunny lyrics. "Paradise" is one of those, and it's not to be confused with the song by the same title but with different lyrics and a much different rhythm by fellow Freestyle icon, Timmy T. But you get more than just a festive Freestyle party on this album. One of the things I've admired about Stevie B. as a Freestyle performer is that he's shown himself to be a proven and capable r&b singer as well. The opening title track reminded me of that, and it's one fine example of how suave the King Of Freestyle can be. "I-5" (the 'I-5' referring to the interstate highway that runs through the West Coast) is another nice slow jam with an r&b kick, the lyrics talking about how Stevie would zoom 100 miles an hour just to see his girl. And if you like it slow and even sweeter, "When You Believe" and the epic "Don't Go" will please you quite nicely. The 80's lover in me certainly got a kick out of "Pretty Girls", a simple but fun pop tune that sounds like it really was recorded in my growing-up years. The best part? Hearing Stevie B. rapping a few times throughout, adding a bit of hip to the hop. Can't complete this feature presentation without mentioning the surprise moment on this album: Stevie's mega-groovy dance cover of Paul McCartney's 1976 hit, "Silly Love Songs"—90's house style! Same familiar melody, same memorable lyrics, met with the same satisfaction if not even more:

1. Right Here, Right Now!
2. Each Time
3. If You Ever Believed
4. Paradise
5. When You Believe
6. I-5
7. If You Leave Me Now (Kalifornia Kuts Radio Mix)
8. Silly Love Songs
9. Miracles In The Summertime
10. Promise To Share
11. Summer Nights
12. Pretty Girls
13. Don't Go
14. Never Fall In Love Again
15. If You Leave Me Now (Planet Freestyle Radio Mix)
16. True Love

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