Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 10: En Vogue, "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)"

Artist: En Vogue
Song: "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)"
Album: Funky Divas
Year: 1992

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Throughout the course of the history of recorded music, there are a number of songs that perfectly capture a specific moment in time due to the sound and style that comes forth within the song.  Then there are a handful of songs that are so unique, that in many ways, they can fit in during nearly any time period.  The songs in this latter category are crafted so perfectly, and highly so many different styles of music, that as the years pass, the song continues to sound just as fresh as it did the first day it was released.  While most bands would be content with a single song of such stature,  During the early 1990's, the world of music was struggling to find its identity, and this provided the ideal environment for one of the most extraordinary records in history.  Packed with nearly half a dozen hit singles, vocal goddesses En Vogue seemed to come out of nowhere with their phenomenal third record, 1992's Funky Divas.  Proving that the r&b style was still alive and well, the quartet dazzled listeners across the thirteen songs, showing a range within the genre that had never before been heard.  From deep, funky grooves to aggressive, in-your-face rockers to hip-hop, En Vogue showed no regard for musical boundaries, and it is largely due to this diversity that the album is held in such high esteem.  While each of the singles from Funky Divas was able to carve out its own place in the history of the decade, few songs have persevered and define the group as well as their superb 1992 single,"My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)."

From the moment the song begins, it is clear what a unique musical experience is in store, as so many different elements are present from the very first notes.  Though "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" proves to be one of the most perfectly complex musical arrangements of its generation, it is the individual musical pieces that make it such a fantastic song.  Case in point, the looped, slightly distorted guitar piece that runs throughout the entire song evokes the spirit of the era of the funky-soul single, and it instantly gets the listeners' head bobbing.  In fact, the riff is lifted directly from James Brown's song, "The Payback," and it is this element that makes the song have a wonderfully "classic" sound.  Weaving in and around the guitar is a fantastic, though small flute progression, and though it is often overlooked, it is without question one of the most important aspects of the musical brilliance found on "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)."  The various percussive elements give the song a strong back-beat, and it is within this aspect, as well as the small sound effects, that give the track a modern feel, very keep it passive enough to engage fans from nearly every musical genre.  With so many diverse musical elements at play, the finished product shows aspects of soul, funk, r&b, and jazz among others, and it is this unique presentation that would have made En Vogue's "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" fit in just as perfectly in 1972 as it did in 1992.

While one cannot detract from the remarkable musical orchestration on "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)," much like the entire catalog of En Vogue, the focus and highlight of the song is the vocal work from the quartet.  In an era when actual talent was still a requirement for musical success, few artists could claim to have as much raw skill as the four women who comprised En Vogue.  Never going overboard with their singing strength or singing the musical scale for little more than effect, the sound of the quartet gives a nod to the "girl groups" of the Motown era, yet there is a strong sense of female empowerment that runs throughout their songs.  On "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)," the lead vocals are handled by Maxine Jones and Dawn Robinson, and the duo bring a sensational level of sass and strength to the song, and yet there is something strangely seductive that runs throughout as well.  Using their stunningly strong voices and vocal presence, one can easily see "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" as one of the earliest and most important songs in what would become the re-birth of the "women's power" movement that ran throughout much of the decade.  While each lyric is as powerful as the next, there are few moments that sum of the entire attitude and vocal brilliance on the song better than the lines, "...doesn´t matter what you do or what you say, she don´t love you, no way. Maybe next time you´ll give your woman a little respect, so you won't be hearing her say, no way..."  Proving how special a song "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" really is, even nearly twenty years later, the vocal performance remains largely unrivaled, and the meaning behind the song rings just as true and powerful.

It has been said many times that making a hit song, let alone a timeless song, is often done completely by mistake.  This rings true on En Vogue's "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)," as it was one of the final songs recorded for their Funky Divas record, and this was the reason that the single was released a mere nine days before the album itself hit record stores.  However, once one hears the song, there is little question why it became an instant success, moving all the way to the top of the charts and selling more than half of a million copies of the single.  Based in the r&b style, yet infusing elements of jazz, funk, and soul, there are few songs ever recorded that have as diverse a sound, yet stay firmly rooted in the core genre.  From their smooth, yet strong harmonies that fill the song to the sensational solo work, there are few vocal recordings one can point to that outmatch those found here from the four members of En Vogue.  Furthermore, "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" spawned what remains a pop culture phrase, as the songs' title can be heard to this day as a part of common vernacular.  Bringing all of these elements together, the song is able to come off as a dance club classic just as much as it is an anthem of female empowerment just as much as it is a perfect song to blast in your car, and this combination can almost never be found anywhere else in the entire history of music, proving just how unique and phenomenal a recording lives within En Vogue's 1992 classic, "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)."

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