If it’s one thing that saddens me about today’s music scene, the lack of R&B groups has to fall somewhere near the top of the list. Without question, one of the most popular, successful and idolized groups of the past quarter century was Boyz II Men. Sheer coincidence or not, in many ways, the Motown Philly quartet represented the bizzaro version of Jodeci whose hardened street image seamlessly existed in the same world of Boyz’s clean-cut, choir boy-like presentation.
Twenty years ago today, in fact, the group released a song so paramount to the ’90s and the generation it represented, it’s next to impossible imagining R&B playlists without “I’ll Make Love To You.” So in honor of the record being a year away from being legally able to drink, let’s play the “six random thoughts” game in regards to the actual video.
1. Its Success
As we know now in 2014, simply because a record is played eleventy-billion times a day on radio doesn’t make it a great song. Every now and then, however, the process works. “I’ll Make Love To You” was a runaway, mammoth hit. Written by Babyface, the number went on to capture a 1995 Grammy (Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group), two American Music Awards, sell 1.6 million singles in 1994 alone and rest atop of Billboard’s Hot 100 for a then-record 14 weeks; a record they’d soon break with their Mariah Carey collaboration, “One Sweet Day.”
2. That Damn Alarm System
Serious question, did we ever figure out who or what was stalking Ms. Sparks, the video’s leading lady? There had to have been a reason this super fancy alarm system was installed. Jealous ex? Rise of crime in the area? The daughter of a diplomat? Or an elaborate fantasy to get what she wanted?
3. Duane Martin
The man who would eventually put a “Martin” at the end of Tisha Campbell’s name, which sent Martin Lawrence off the deep end, which essentially put the nail in the coffin of the famed sitcom had a rather impressive 1994. He played the immortal Kyle Lee Watson alongside Tupac in Above The Rim. Then came his role as Jr. Phillips in the rom-com, The Inkwell. And, of course, he played himself in the “I’ll Make” video.
4. Karaoke Power
Aside from “Contagious” and “Forever My Lady,” “I’ll Make Love To You” has to be a personal go-to karaoke song for two simple reasons. One, you sing it with three other people so if you’re going to make an ass out of yourself, the other three are, too. And two, even after a couple of drinks, the song is slow enough to gather your composure and think about the next lyric. Plus, everyone knows the damn hook and with enough energy and conviction, the whole damn bar is going to be singing with you.
5. R&B Savage Life
Quoting song lyrics in tweets, Facebook statuses and Instagram captions is an everyday occurrence. We hardly bat an eye to it. This guy Duane Martin, though, took it one step further and wrote an entire damn love letter…QUOTING THE ENTIRE DAMN SONG. And it worked.
6. The Most Respectful Love Song
I can’t say “ever,” but it’s pretty close. It’s “kiss on the forehead” of love ballads. It’s the “we’re going to make sweet, passionate love and afterwards we’re going to spoon and you’re going to tell me all about your day” of love ballads. And that’s absolutely fine. This is your lady you’re laying down with. You’re not going to play Webbie’s “Gimmie That” to set the mood. Make her feel loved, you heathen. The song gets its point across and helps both of you go to sleep with a smile on your face.