Wednesday, 4 February 2009

1981 Smokey Robinson: Being With You

A late hit for one of the kings of Motown and his last ever appearance in the UK charts, 'Being With You', eschews the musical tricks and motifs of Robinson's older hits like 'Tears Of A Clown' for a straightforward and languid track that washes over the listener like a warm Caribbean wave. Very much a precursor to Marvin Gaye's own late hit 'Sexual Healing', what 'Being With You' lacks in clout and bite it makes up for with Robinson's voice, an instrument in as sweet a form as it ever was and elevates this well above background music fayre.

Though perhaps the background is the best way to appreciate it, as long as you're with a loved one - 'Being With You' isn't styled for careful, solo listening. Because through careful listening you'll notice the annoying eighties production stalwarts of squealing saxophone, electric piano, breathless backing vocals and tinny Linn drum sound that would become de rigueur as the decade pressed on. You can't blame Motown for wanting to embrace the zeitgeist and update their sound, but here it renders a simple song overly fussy and a far sparser arrangement would have set the song off the way a plain gold ring sets off a diamond.
Thankfully though, none of that really matters; it all boils down to a simple enough message, and who could resist being told: "I don't care about anything else but, bein' with you, bein' with you"? Especially by a voice like that.

No comments:

Post a Comment