Monday, September 1, 2014

Cherrelle - Fragile

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Fragile, the debut album from R&B singer Cherrelle (the stage name for Cheryl Anne Norton). This 1984 release, produced in part by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, spent eight weeks on the US Billboard Album chart and peaked at number 144. It also climbed up to number 27 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

Side one begins with the bouncy beat of “Fragile…Handle With Care”. As the second single, it reached number 37 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

“I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On”, the lead single, went to number 79 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 8 on the US Billboard R&B chart and number 6 on the US Billboard Dance charts. Robert Palmer recorded a successful cover of it in 1985, and Mariah Carey also covered it in 2001 for the soundtrack of Glitter. The album track is a full seven minute dance groove; this was my first time hearing this version and I like it a lot.

The third single from the album was the slinky and seductive “Like I Will”. The album cut, at seven and a half minutes long, features some funky synthesizer solos.

Side two opens with the ballad “I Will Wait For You”; it was the B-side to the second single.

“Who’s It Gonna Be” was the B-side ballad to the third single.

The B-side to the second single “Stay With Me” continues the slow and seductive song block.

The mid-tempo “When You Look In My Eyes” reminds me musically of a number of songs done by Alexander O’Neal, the R&B singer whom Cherrelle would team up for a duet on her next album High Priority.

“I Need You Now”, the B-side to the first single, closes things out.

While I did not find a bad song in the entire bunch of eight on Fragile, the first side was easily my favorite part. There, Jam and Lewis crafted the kind of dance tracks I was completely into during my college days of the mid-80’s. Cherrelle is a versatile performer and comes across comfortable in doing both the faster and slower numbers. I’ll definitely be adding a few of these to my music library right away.

No comments: