Thursday, June 28, 2012

Amel Larrieux - Don't Let Me Down

One half of the hit making 90's duo Groove Theory, R&B veteran Amel Larrieux has worked hard for over ten years creating her own style and making sure to stay outside the box. She's dabbled in hip-hop, collaborating on a posthumous 2Pac album, as well as jazz, lending her vocals to Sweetback's single "You Will Rise," a record released by Sade band members. In 2009 Larrieux began releasing new material for the then unnamed album Ice Cream Every Day. Resulting were the two singles "Orange Glow" and "Don't Let Me Down," with the latter being my favorite. It hasn't left my MP3 player since I bought it.

Because Amel Larrieux, or "Mellie" as she calls herself, is so considerate, she released two versions of "Don't Let Me Down." If you get bored with the sentimental ballad version, get up and dance around to the disco mix. The tempo of Larrieux's voice is practically the same in both, her phrasing more delicate as to emphasis the song's pleading lyrics. She sings during the hook:

"You have turned on a light/And I've lost my sight/But my heart still remembers the sound/ Of a dream of a love one day found/So don't let me down."

As with most meaningful songs, this one evokes strong images in me while listening. The song seems to illustrate a turning point in a relationship where the past triumphs and failures are taken into consideration to make a new decision. Everything is on the table, including a possible dissolution. There's even a hint of bitterness as Larrieux sings during the bridge:

"Never seen love face to face/Just seen it walking away/Why would you think I would recognize/Something that's never been mine."

The song's melody is pleasant. It's not a far cry from previous singles "Make Me Whole" and "No One Else," where it was just Larrieux and her piano and few, if any, backing instruments, carrying a simple melody. No music video has been made for the single. It's not a song that demands a video, so that's understandable.

I highly recommend "Don't Let Me Down" or any of Larrieux's records to be force fed to your MP3 player. It's sorta like Billie Holiday in that I love Larrieux's whole style, not just particular songs. Although I think her strength is found mainly in her songwriting. There's something about the melody of her songs and their lyrical sentiments that get me.

Here's a Youtube link to Don't Let Me Down.

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