Is Ralph Tresvant Right? Can Money Really Not Buy You Love?

ralph-tresvant-money-1

 

This September has been filled with a bunch of rainy days. Rather than going out in a downpour, I kept to myself indoors with some activities like sleeping, studying, listening to music, and watching a ton of movies and TV shows. During this weekend, I was able to watch the new “Eight Days a Week”, “New Jacket City”, and “Mo’ Money”. These movies shared one common theme together. And, that was music.

I always wanted to watch “New Jacket City” and “Mo’ Money” as their soundtracks included a few of my favorite artists like Johnny Gill, Janet Jackson, Ralph Tresvant, Christopher Williams, and others. The songs appearing on these soundtracks were heavily influenced by a popular genre of the late 80’s and early 90s called New Jack Swing, which I really love as it perfectly blends together different musical elements.

Ralph Tresvant started his music career in the early 80s as a member of the “boys next door” R&B group New Edition. Labeled as the new Jackson 5,  Tresvant was only 13 years old when the group released their first album entitled Candy Girl. The album’s lead single reached #1 on various music charts. The group released more hits as the group grew up by changing their sound from sweet, innocent R&B to adult-oriented new jack swing. The group initially broke up in 1990 to let the members pursue their own solo careers. However, they continue to reunite from time to time for special occasions, TV shows, and concerts.

Billed as one of the leading vocalists for the group, Tresvant was all too ready to go solo when New Edition dissolved. There were rumors in the late 80s about the musician wanting to make his own music. However, the ambitions didn’t come into fruition until the success of Bobby Brown’s New Jack Swing-fused album Don’t Be Cruel in 1988 and the wildly popular New Edition album Heart Break. Knowing what to do, the musician released his self-titled album in 1990 with huge success. The album was #1 on the R&B charts and spawn a couple of hits. His follow-up album didn’t meet the same success as it reached #24 on the charts. 

“Money Can’t Buy You Love” was the fourth and last Top 10 single for the New Jack Swing singer. The song was in the 1992 Wayans Brother film Mo’ Money. The movie itself was critically panned by movie critics and actually bombed at the box office. On the contrary, the soundtrack fared better as it reached #6 on the Billboard 200 chart.

The soundtrack features a variety of splendid songs by Johnny Gill, Color Me Badd, Janet Jackson, Luther Vandross, and other well-known artists. Adam Greenberg  from AllMusic.com gave a spot-on analysis of the soundtrack as it “is a perfect blend for a fan of the early-’90s R&B sound. Yet, the praises do fall short to a weak point with Greenberg mentioning that the soundtrack “doesn’t really meet the same standard as music of later years”.[1]

Tresvant’s tune is a true embodiment of the new jack swing style as it features elements of rap, hip-hop, jazz, R&B, funk, electronica, and a bit of dance. The song starts with the singer’s smooth vocals singing “Can’t Buy You” while a slick rap is placed over. The song leads into the first chorus which is my favorite part. The chorus is the meat of the song’s sandwich as it is well-crafted with an SP-1200 providing the hip-hop styled MIDI sequences, the beautiful electronic piano bits here and there, and Tresvant’s smooth background vocals (which are heaven-sent and sooooooooooo smooth that it is so wonderful).

The lyrics are pretty satisfying as there is a strong message behind them. They were originally written with the idea of the movie’s theme of “money can’t buy can’t buy love” in mind Nevertheless, I feel like the message can apply to everyone and how they live their lives. Haven’t ever you thought about the issue deeply before? Is money REALLY THAT important in buying someone’s love and affection?

“Money Can’t Buy You Love”  is a wonderful example of what new jack swing was in the 90’s. It’s smooth, slick, meaningful, and catchy. The song might make you want to listen to it over and over. Or, just sing the lyrics out loud at random moments like walking to work. I know I have.

 


Sources

[1]  Greenberg, Adam. “Original Soundtrack Mo’ Money.” AllMusic.com. N.p., 2016. Web. (http://www.allmusic.com/album/mo-money-mw0000079784)

KAN – Shinu made Kimi wo Hanasanai

I am very sorry this blog got abandon for a long time. My main computer crashed in May and was stuck with an outdated laptop for the summer until I got my new one in August. And then school took over and I didn’t have a chance to update. But now I do, yay! I promise that in 2009 this will be updated more and there will more stuff to come. And, as my comeback post, I give you a late Christmas gift with the legendary singer/songwriter KAN.

Enjoy!

**********************************KAN single

Artist: KAN

 

Single Title: 死ぬまで君を離さない (Shinu made Kimi wo Hanasanai)

Date Released: October 22nd, 1992

Catalog Code: PODH-1097

Label: Polydor

Genre: Japanese Pop

Tracklist:

1. 死ぬまで君を離さない

2. KANのChristmas Song

3. 死ぬまで君を離さない (Original Karaoke)

CD Information

Wiki JP CD Information

About / Review

KAN (real name is Kimura Kan (木村和)) is a pop singer/songwriter who debuted with his first single in 1987 entitled “Terebi no Naka ni”.  His first number one single came three years later, in 1990, with “Ai wa Katsu”. After that, he has enjoy top 20 hits with number of his singles (with this single placing Number 18 on the Oricon Charts).  But, what else has made KAN famous is his songwriting. He has written many popular lyrics for WINK, Qlair, Hello! Project, SMAP, and other famous groups (He wrote my favorite indies single of 2008, Lucky Aura by Erina Mano, by the way).

Shinu made Kimi wo Hanasanai is a typically ’90s piano ballad with the heavy use of the piano and that guitar solo with a strong sense of power in the chorus. But, what makes this single unique sense of calmity in the single. This single is also mellow and enjoyable to listening due to the melodic and lyrical messages it is trying to convey throughout.  As for the the B-side, Kan’s Christmas Song, is a upbeat, barbershop-type short acepella song that made me dance in my chair a bit. The song remembers of a Billy Joel song with the type of melodic uses in this songs (the bums, bums, bums and the Ahhhs). This song is a treat for the Christmas season but also as much enjoyable in the non-Christmas song. All in all, this single is a treat fand should not missed.

Lyrics (for the Karaoke track)

Mou arasoi hayame you
Ah kimi wo kakimawasu sonna tsumoriwanai kara

Ah kimi wo mitsumete Ah hizamazuitara
Boku wa eien wo chikaou

Kimi no me no oku ni hisomu
Kiechai sou na hikari wo
Saigo made kesanai you ni
Tada sotto zutto kimi wo dakishimetai

Oh~Ah tatoe boku no kioku wa
Kimi dake ga nokoreba ii
Oh~Ah ima ieru koto
boku wa shinu made kimi wo hanasanai darou

Ah itsumo mayotteta Ah jishin ga nakute
Uso mo tokidoki tsuitakara

Ah kimi no kimochi ga moshi mo far away toku ni natte mo
Aisuru koto wo boku wa yamenai yo Yes, I will

Kimi no te nigitteru to
Kotoba nanka muimi na mono da natte
Shizen ni kanjirareru kara
Tada motto zutto kimi wo dakishimetai

Oh~Ah ki ni natteta no wa
Kimi ga tsukarete n janai katte koto sa
Oh~Ah nagai tabi da yo
Boku wa shinu made kimi wo hanasanai darou

Kimi ni to tte no boku wa ittai donna nan darou
Boku wa kimi ga itoshi kute shou ga nai n da yo dakara
Zutto issho ni ite kimi wo mamoru kara

Oh~Ah tatoeba boku no kioku
Kimi dake ga nokoreba ii
Oh~Ah yakusoku suru yo
Boku wa shinu made kimi wo hanasanai darou

Shinu made kimi wo hanasanai darou