“Can’t Hide Love” by Earth, Wind & Fire (1975)

Here are some awesome things about “Can’t Hide Love”

-The horn charts. That cluster of ascending notes that begins the song make it instantly recognizable. And I think any appreciator of soul music has to give props to the Phenix Horns.

-The vocal interplay of Maurice White and Philip Bailey. Reese stays low to the ground here. There’s a slyness to his singing-the way he drags out some words. Meanwhile, Philip is flying above the clouds with that falsetto. That “bet ya!” exhortation in the pre-chorus (or whatever it is, since “Can’t Hide Love” doesn’t have a traditionally structured chorus) is magic, and the moment when Maurice’s slick vibe and Philip’s angelic tones collide.

Did you know “Can’t Hide Love” was a cover? The original version (entitled “You Can’t Hide Love”) is by Creative Source, a group that I was only vaguely familiar with (thanks to their version of Bill Withers’ “Who Is He And What Is He To You”) until I saw their album in a cheap vinyl bin. EW&F owns “Can’t Hide Love” in a way that makes it almost unfeasible that it’s not an original. Creative Source’s version is pretty good, though. As is the version by (of all people) ‘70s game show regular Jaye P. Morgan–featuring some tasty guitar licks from Ray Parker Jr!

Also–is “Can’t Hide Love” the best bonus studio track ever put on a live album? I can’t think of one better.

NOT QUITE FIVE STARS…

“Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” by Kylie Minogue (2002): In which the chick that made the awful remake of “The Loco-Motion” and didn’t have a US hit after came roaring back with electro-sleaze goodness. My friend Jerez saw this video and lost his shit for Kylie. Who can blame him?

“Can’t Help Falling In Love” by UB40 (1993): A reggae remake of an Elvis hit inexplicably topped the pop charts for two months in summer ’93 (a pretty good summer for music). Equally inexplicable-the fact that I love this song as much as I do. Not crazy about Elvis’s version, there’s nothing about the lyrics or Ali Campbell’s vocals that do much for me. This is one of those situations where the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.

“Can’t Knock The Hustle” by Jay-Z feat. Mary J. Blige (1996): I remember thinking “man, if Mary J. Blige is going to sing on your record, you’re probably a big deal.” Because Jay kinda came out of nowhere. Here’s an example of several stellar parts coming together to make a fantastic whole. Mary’s slightly off-key interpolation of Meli’sa Morgan’s “Fool’s Paradise” is the most rugged part of the whole production. That Marcus Miller sample and Jay’s laid back lyrics are smooth as butter.

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