January 30, 2022

Teena Marie - Irons In The Fire (1980)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Pop
Label Number: 374 635 372-2

© 1980-1986 Motown
“Behind the Groove” was still on the charts when Teena Marie struck again with “I Need Your Lovin’,” a seemingly weightless but potent dancefloor number that eventually eclipsed the success of its predecessor. Like everything else on Irons in the Fire, released six months following Lady T, the song -- the most joyous R&B single of 1980, tied with Patrice Rushen's “Haven’t You Heard” -- was written, arranged, and produced by Teena. She proved that she could not only handle everything but excel creatively and sell some records. This was T’s first Top Ten R&B album, and it crossed into the Top 40 of the Billboard 200. “I Need Your Lovin’” was a major reason for the success, playing the same role as Wild and Peaceful's “I’m a Sucker for Your Love” and Lady T's “Behind the Groove” by leading off the album with tremendous positive energy. The song was so big that it overshadowed the set’s other upbeat songs. “First Class Love” was dusted off from the mid-‘70s demo pile and given a forceful rock edge, and it acted like a warning flare for one of her biggest crossover hits, 1984’s “Lover Girl.” “Chains,” spotlighting fellow Motown act Ozone (a band Teena produced the following year) with call-and-response vocals and instrumental flash to spare, as well as the gorgeously Latin-flavored “You Make Love Like Springtime,” should not be discounted, either. Once again, transportive ballads -- highlighted by “Young Love” -- are a key attraction, boasting a few more subtle sonic twists than Teena’s previous slow material. Her athletic voice is so alluring that one can see past perfumed-meadow-of-the-mind meanderings like “Here I am, your Piscean holocaust/Born in Venice Harlem, it’s so sweet, the sour sauce.”

tags: teena marie, irons in the fire, 1980, flac,


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