Monday, August 8, 2016

Ray Parker, Jr.-I Love You Like You Are (1991)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: August 8, 2016

.....And I can say a similar thing about all of the old throwback music I've ever listened to by the man who popularized the theme song to the original "Ghostbusters" movie—I love it just like it is! Having recently gotten started on organizing the 'R' entries in my music library—and paying a bit of tribute, in a way, in the aftermath of my recent viewing of the new "Ghostbusters" movie at the local theater&mash;I felt it was time I finally got caught up once and for all with everything ever recorded by Ray Parker, Jr. I have to confess something first: I was undoubtedly one of the gazillions of kids who, back in the 80's, believed the original "Ghostbusters" song to be the only Ray Parker song, not even realizing that the man had been an accomplished soul singer since as far back as the late 70's. It was many years into my adulthood—not until the early 2000's, possibly?—when I realized there was much more to the man who had formed the group called RAYDIO beyond that memorable movie theme song that plays in my head every time I think about him. And now, after nearly decade later since that realization, I at last get around to treating my ears to the one album he recorded in the 90's. Treating is right—listening to Ray's distinctively seductive, sexy voice is a real treat no matter what he's singing, and the moment I tuned in to the opening upbeat jam, "She Needs To Get Some", I quickly realized just how much I missed that voice melting into my ears. Besides that, I just miss the pop/r&b production of the early 90's music altogether, which is something else this album;s opener did for me. And for the RAYDIO fans, it's a treat twice over with Ray interpolating a portion of the lyrics from RAYDIO hit, "A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)", into the chorus; in fact, the chords and the melodic riff heard in that chorus even reminds you of the chords from that memorable hit, if you listen carefully. It's definitely the Ray Parker, Jr. of the 90's when you hear the guest MC's laying down the slick raps for him on the easy pop swing of "Ain't Gone Go For That", on the funky r&b bounce of "Love, Sex And Money" (he needs the love and the sex, but doesn't need the money because having the lady makes him rich—well said) and on my new Ray Parker, Jr. favorite, "Yesterday", whose perfect pop/r&b production does indeed take me back to those fond yesterdays of my childhood.....just as much as he sings about going back to that special day when he was once in love. A song here that I totally admired him for is the album's title track itself. Already worthy of nomination for the next 'Slow Jam Of The Night' with the ear-pleasing chords and soothing groove, it's his meaningful words of telling the lady to stay the same and don't change a thing about her appearance because he loves her just the way she is. That's a real ladies man delivering a real message to the real ladies out there to hear. "No Matter What Happens" just so happens to be one of the sweetest songs of tribute an dedication amongst this bunch while it's more than a case of kissing and making up and love-making happening all over again on the straight-and-to-the-point entitled "Let's Go back To Bed". The game of love is so strange, as Ray instructs the listener on this album's fifth track. I like how it starts off and ends with the very bizarre 'alien sci-fi' melody (I'm one to always pick up on these fun little nuances!) with the big-time pop/r&b bounce of the main beat closed in-between, his words of how people fight and end right back up in bed, the lady meaning 'yes' when she says 'no' and how easy it is to love somebody when everything is going so well speaking the absolute truth. Beautifully sung is the beautiful piece of dedication that is "Till I Met You". It's that distinctively seductive and sexy soulful Ray Parker, Jr. vocals on this one coupled with the starry melody that makes for the 4+ minutes of music happiness for me. Ah, and now I see that Ray too can be added to the endless sea of artists who have sung about angels at some point in their career. In his interpretation of "Angel", he poetically describes the lady as a piece of heaven on earth for all to see, and the result is something that sounds truly magical. Was a bit surprised that a song whose theme is about starting over and getting back to love again, considering the predominantly positive themes featured on many of the previous songs, would end this lovely soul adventure in such a negative way. But then again, "Square One"—and the eleven tracks before it—saw me starting back at square one with a singer whom I hadn't listened to in years anyway:

1. She Needs To Get Some
2. Ain't Gone Go For That
3. I Love You Like You Are
4. No Matter What Happens
5. Love Is So Strange
6. Girl I Saw You
7. Till I Met You
8. Yesterday
9. Angel
10. Let's Go Back To Bed
11. Love, Sex And Money
12. Square One

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