This article belongs to Masterpiece Mixtape column.
A lot of the songs that have been focused on in Masterpiece Mixtape up until now have been – for lack of a better way of putting it – white boy rock epics. I thought this week it might make for a nice change of pace to turn down the lights, scatter the bean bags, burn the incense, slow things down a little and make them a might groovy.
Okay, ignoring how dorky that last paragraph ended up, I think the sentiment is fine. Let's continue.
Al Green is an artist whose talents and contributions to the R&B field are quite often overlooked; maybe it's a result of his conversion to devout Christianity, or all the speculation over his personal life. In any case, it's easy to see just how talented the man was, and continues to be.
One of Green's most successful songs, Let's Stay Together, is a song that pops up repeatedly in the popular consciousness. It's a song that one will often hear in the background of a scene in a movie, or at completely random and mundane surroundings, such as at the supermarket, or in an elevator. While this speaks of how popular the song is, it's also a bit of a shame, as it blunts the song, and leads people to forgetting how truly remarkable a tune it is.
With its hushed grooves and laidback melody, it's a song that instantly transforms you into feeling cool. It doesn't matter how stressed you are, how crappy your day has been or how much of a bad mood you're in, if you put Let's Stay Together on, all that other stuff melts away.
Like the work of Barry White and Marvin Gaye, Let's Stay Together – and Al Green's work as a whole – is also renowned for its effectiveness in setting a certain kind of mood. It seems almost cheesy in that context, or too obvious, but things don't become cliché without a reason. The full stop of it is that it's just a really sexy song.
And much like Curtis Mayfield's Pusherman, this is a song that hooks you, addicts you, and leaves you feverishly hunting down more of Green's work to listen to. The unfortunate aspect of it is that after Let's Stay Together, it's hard to find a more perfect song than that.
It may be a song you've heard a million times and has become so engrained that it now seems mundane. But taking a listen back to it confirms why it became so popular in the first place; Let's Stay Together is one of the best R&B songs ever recorded. And that really is groovy.
I'll stop with the dorkiness now.