Friday, February 6, 2009

OSF: New Edition Mania ... Echoes of Pre-Mid-Life

What I'm enjoying this Friday is watching the Old School Friday meme participants who are younger than I am drool over their boy band that eventually became a man band, New Edition. O.K., I'm not that much older than the sisters who are New Edition fans, but when New Edition was born in 1978, I was one year out of high school, probably moving in with my first boyfriend. (My parents came and physically dragged me from the apartment about two and half months after I moved in. Drama. Drama.)

Listening to the ladies', Mrs. Grapevine and Marvalous's picks, I think if I had heard it when it was out and hot, I would've liked "Can You Stand the Rain" featuring Johnny Gill.

While I was playing house with the boyfriend, an artist and someone I knew because we attended NOCCA together but who after graduation took his fine behind into the Marines, I remember listening to Peabo Bryson a lot and Disco music was still in the clubs. The Jackson 5, the group that some members of the New Edition say inspired them, had long since disintegrated into Mega-star Michael and hangers-on brothers, with the exception of Jermaine who people still took seriously. Janet had started to make waves but in TV not music, and the really light sister--kind of crazy one -- who wanted to tell all the family's secrets, LaToya, was dreaming of being a star. If there's a group that I was nuts over it was the J-5, who came on the scene when I was 8 or 9, and was the only group whose pictures I ever plastered around my room.

When I first saw/heard New Edition, I think I was attending Loyola University and remember thinking that they were something for the little girls still in high school. I think that was because the lead singer, Ralph Tresvan, looked like and sounded like too young a boy for me, and so, I thought of them as just another boy group. However, I could see their appeal.

I got married in 1980, not to the Marine from which my family dragged me, but to a marketing major who wasn't a bad singer himself and who nearly 25 years later became my ex-husband. I'm surprised we stayed married that long, considering we didn't even have a song we could call "our song."

So, when the New Edition was getting the recognition it deserved and climbing the charts, I was having a baby, changing diapers, balancing the family budget, sometimes working three jobs, and maybe finding time to sneak in a listen to Luther, an old Heatwave song, or possibly some resurrected Earth, Wind & Fire because I rarely turned on the radio or MTV.

Most of all during the 80s I was listening to hits from Sesame Street--Somebody Come and Play--while I lost my mind. Even Prince's "Do Me, Baby" escaped me, but I did find moments for Al Jarreau, and Marvin's "Sexual Healing" caught my ear too. Whitney Houston? Well she was everywhere. And I got into Gospel music a lot for a while. New mothers need Jesus. Otherwise, the 80s are a blur to me.

Later I started to reclaim my old music and discover who and what I'd missed while raising children (A son came along too). Still, all I knew of Bobby Brown was that he seemed kind of wild, ended up in jail a lot (he was arrested in a Georgia town while I was living there), and I got that Whitney Houston was insane for him. I did, however, hear Johnny Gill and thought I liked him, but I also liked his other LSG group member, the late Gerald LeVert.

So, I'm gonna have a little fun here and add Slow 'N Sexy, a Shabba Ranks video video featuring Johnny Gill. Of course, in posting this one I may be more influenced by meeting a sexy Jamaican about four years ago. Still, I do enjoy Gills' smooth, and uh--sexy voice in this song.

Despite my being married, for some reason I was very aware of Boyz-II-Men, a group which should have gotten past me the same way New Edition did. Probably caught them because they came out 10 years later when my life was starting to stabilize.

The creators of the Old School Friday meme are Mrs. Grapevine and The Marvalous View and has these rules, if you want to join the party.

Other participants:

Electronic Village | Fresh And Fab | Danielle | Kim | Ms Grapevine | Quick| Marcus LANGFORD | Cassandra |iriegal | Mahogany | Hagar’s Daughter | Lisa C | Chocl8t | DP | Dallassouth | John | CC Groovy | Kreative Talk | Marvalus One | Regina | Clnmike | Vivrant Thing | AJ | Sharon | The Creole Pimp | Invisible Woman | Beleiver 1964 | Cooper | SJP | Bria | BklynQueen 86 | Hey Shae | From the Battlefield | Thembi | D Spot | Malcolm | Pop Art Diva | Pjazzypar | MsLadyDeborah | WSATA

; ;


MrsGrapevine said...

I love this post, I learned a lot about you, which helps me to understand your taste in music.

The reason I like them is because they were the soundtrack for my life. I remember listening to them when I was in Kindergarten, and listening to them my Freshmen year in college...

Vérité Parlant said...

The Soundtrack to My Life

I like that Mrs. G., and you've hit the nail on the head for why we identify with some music more than others. I can identify with the New Edition because they spring from a tradition in R&B with which I'm familiar, but I identify more with old Motown and groups like the Beatles or Joni Mitchell and Aretha because that's the music I heard more of coming up. By the time New Edition came along, my head was full of adult problems, which makes it harder sometimes to appreciate the very art that heals us.

Speaking of The Soundtrack to Our Lives, I'll be writing a post at the BlogHer site next week under my real name on the topic of the midlife muse, which is where I am now--the poetry music, and books--that call to us during certain periods of life.

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.

Tha Connoisseur said...

HOLY!! I forgot the Shabba tune! Nice pick!

Pop Art Diva! said...

Honestly - I loved this post from you! I learned so much about you while traveling down the musical memory lane road trip you took me on!

Had to laugh at listening to Sesame Street in the 80s - man, kids could drive you nuts with that. . .

"Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame street...
How to get to Sesame Street "

Where 'bouts in LA are you? I love N'awlins - I could eat myself to death there.


Marvalus said...

Oh man! Johnny Gill's voice used to do things to me...unmentionable...

I love your posts because they are so intuitive and give us a peek inside your spirit...


Hey Shae! said...

Oooh slow & sexy was the jam!!! Shabba!

Regina said...

Great post!
I had forgotten all about this song! I love Johnny Gill's voice!