In a Special Way
|In A Special Way|
|Studio album by DeBarge|
|Released||September 24, 1983|
|Recorded||1982–1983 (Kendun Records in Burbank, California and Westlake Audio in West Hollywood, California)|
|Genre||R&B, adult contemporary, quiet storm|
In a Special Way is the third studio album by American R&B recording group DeBarge. Produced, by El DeBarge and the writing credits varying from El, Marty, James and Bunny, the album reached gold after the releases of the following singles "Time Will Reveal" and "Love Me in a Special Way" (which features fellow Motown artist Stevie Wonder on harmonica), which hit number one on the Billboard R&B and adult contemporary singles chart respectively.
The album is most memorable for not only its singles but album tracks such as "Stay with Me" (led by El) and "A Dream" (sung and penned by sister Bunny) largely due to subsequent sampling in modern Hip-Hop and R&B tracks. The album has been regarded by some critics as a "classic" in the family group's catalog.
Music and lyrics
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the album's material veers between "ballad and dance music, somewhere between soul and jazz." Allmusic's Jason Elias attributed its "minimalist and artful sound" to the rumor that the horn tracks were lost during its recording.
In a contemporary review, Connie Johnson of the Los Angeles Times wrote that DeBarge "conveys an innocence that's rare in '80s pop music" and, although some songs can be excessively "cute" and sung high-pitched, they are "oddly appealing." The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that In a Special Way "makes gentle, perfect harmonies seem like a pleasurable dream." The Lexington Herald-Leader largely credited El DeBarge's soft vocals and upbeat arrangements for the group's success on the album and asserted that they appear to be "the future" of Motown. Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, said that he "fell in love with the austere lilt and falsetto fantasy they've pinned to plastic here" because of their superior vocal skills. Christgau felt that its music guilelessly pursues genuine vocal "beauty" and is strengthened by subtle Latinized rhythms. He named In a Special Way the tenth best album of the year in his list for the Pazz & Jop annual critics' poll.
In a decade-end list for The Village Voice, Christgau ranked the album as the seventh best of the 1980s. In his "A+" review of the album in 2002, music critic Milo Miles said that In a Special Way is still the least known of Motown's best albums and called it "a crucial work whose appeal cannot be articulated entirely." Miles praised DeBarge for avoiding "cheap sentiment" in favor of an emphasis on love and wrote that the album achieved "the most elusive prize" in popular music—"romance that is both sensuous and gorgeous and then sustained track after track".
- All Songs Published By Jobete Music except track 4 (Jobete Music, Irving Music Inc. & Wep Music).
- "Be My Lady" (J. DeBarge) (4:15)
- "Stay with Me" (M. DeBarge/B. DeBarge) (3:45)
- "Time Will Reveal" (E. DeBarge/B. DeBarge) (4:17)
- "Need Somebody" (J. DeBarge) (4:31)
- "Love Me in a Special Way" (E. DeBarge) (4:13)
- "Queen of My Heart" (E. DeBarge) (4:37)
- "Baby, Won't Cha Come Quick?" (E. DeBarge/Fisher) (4:35)
- "I Give Up on You" (J. DeBarge/Preston) (3:45)
- "A Dream" (B. DeBarge) (4:23)
- Bunny DeBarge: Vocals, Rhythm Arrangements
- James DeBarge: Vocals, Rhythm Arrangements
- El DeBarge: Vocals, Keyboards, Rhythm Arrangements
- Randy DeBarge: Vocals, Bass
- Mark DeBarge: Vocals, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
- Bunny Hull, Jim Gilstrap: Vocal Backing
- Charles Fearing, Paul Jackson, Jr.: Guitars
- Greg Phillinganes, Larry Van Nash: Keyboards
- "Ready" Freddie Washington, James Jamerson, Jr., Nathan East: Bass
- Harvey Mason, Leon "Ndugu" Chancler, Ricky Lawson: Drums, Percussion
- Stevie Wonder: Harmonica on "Love Me in a Special Way"
|1983||In a Special Way||36||4|
|1983||"Time Will Reveal"||18||1||12|
|1984||"Love Me In A Special Way"||45||11||—|
- "Capsule Reviews". Lexington Herald-Leader. March 18, 1984. Retrieved July 2, 2013. (subscription required)
- Christgau, Robert (February 21, 1984). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- Johnson, Connie (January 22, 1984). "Taut DeBarge". Los Angeles Times. Calendar section, p. R59. Retrieved July 2, 2013. (subscription required)
- "'Philly Ballads' Pays Homage to Sound of the '70s". The Philadelphia Inquirer. April 8, 1984. p. K04. (subscription required)
- Christgau, Robert (February 28, 1984). "Pazz & Jop 1983: Dean's List". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- Christgau, Robert (January 2, 1990). "Decade Personal Best: '80s". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- Miles, Milo (2002). "Consumer Guide to Consumer Guides: The Dean's List: Blessed and Cursed, Pissed and Worse". Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- "DeBarge US albums chart history". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
- "DeBarge US singles chart history". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-08-08.