Saturday, July 6, 2013

Aretha Franklin - Get It Right

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Get It Right, the twenty-ninth album from the legendary R&B singer Aretha Franklin. Following on the heels of her smash hit Jump To It from the previous year (click here for that review), this 1983 album went to number 36 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 4 on the US Billboard R&B charts. Once again, she worked with producer Luther Vandross.

Side one opens the title track “Get It Right”, with the message about investing ample effort in a relationship to make it the best it can be. As the first single, it went to number 74 in the UK, number 61 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 9 on the US Dance chart, and number 1 on the US Billboard R&B chart (right between Donna Summer‘s “She Works Hard for the Money“ and Rick James‘ “Cold Blooded“). The album cut is an over six minute serving of this upbeat dance jam.

“Pretender” brings things down a bit with a strong bass grind and an enticing percussion beat. A woman must accept that the man she loves does not feel the same deep down; she wrestles with her own feelings and his deception. I like Franklin's short rap in the later half.

“Every Girl (Wants My Guy)”, the second single, went to number 7 on the US Billboard R&B chart. Backed by another solid dance rhythm, Franklin warns those with longing eyes to keep their hands to themselves..

“When You Love Me Like That” is presented with a seductive R&B groove. Franklin's take is an interesting one in that it takes a slower, slinky approach at the start than other versions I have heard. It then builds in intensity, like a storm rolling in with darkening skies and a drop in temperature. I always like that time, when you can smell the rain just before it starts to pour.

Side two begins with “I Wish It Would Rain”, a cover of the 1967 Motown hit by the Temptations.

The ballad “Better Friends Than Lovers” is about realizing that some relationships are not meant to move beyond the stage of being good friends.

“I Got Your Love” was the B-side to the second single. I like the way the guitar and keyboards mix on this open invitation for affection.

“Giving In”, the closing track, was also the B-side to the first single. It is a sweet, soulful surrender.

Get It Right was an album with which I had not been familiar. Despite some decent chart performance, it was not a big commercial success (it only sold around 200,000 copies in the US and did not get re-released on CD until the late 90's). It is, however, available for download at quite a reasonable price. For me, there are some definite standout tracks and others that I am sure will come to grow on me with successive listenings. I can always use more tracks to freshen up my 80's R&B category.

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