“Cry For You” by Jodeci (1993)

I’m a little salty because I had this whole piece written up and my browser decided to go crazy. Here we go again…

Things I love about “Cry for You”:

-The sandpaper/velvet contrast of the Hailey brothers’ vocals. K-ci & Jojo (and Puffy Combs) are the reason Jodeci is remembered differently than Shai or Silk or Intro. They’re both extremely talented vocalists, capable of blending together perfectly despite major differences in vocal styles. “Cry for You” is a love-lorn ballad on which Jojo sounds depressed. K-ci sounds absolutely beside himself.

-DeVante Swing’s production, which had new-school sheen and old-school grit. Placing a prominent wah-wah guitar into a modern R&B ballad was a genius move that signaled emotional gravity in addition to nodding towards the past. The sandpaper/velvet contrast extended beyond the vocals. There’s also a masterful build and release in “Cry for You”. The song simmers during its first 2/3, gains steam following the same chorus as K-ci launches into some impassioned call-and-response, and culminates into a multi-tracked, harmonized “yeah” that lasts 8 full seconds.

DeVante was Jodeci’s primary songwriter and producer, and was appreciably talented, although by the time “Cry for You” appeared, he was already drinking some of that “too much money and fame too fast” Kool-Aid. “Cry” served as the lead single to Diary Of A Mad Band, Jodeci’s second album. Following a multi-platinum debut, the quartet leaned a little too hard on trying to be the “bad boys of R&B” and delivered a wildly inconsistent album in the process. Although at the time they were still a long way from the sucking-my-own-dick ego and rampant misogyny that marked (and marred) their third effort, ‘95′s The Show, The After Party, The Hotel. Around the same time, though, DeVante was discovering Missy Elliott and Timbaland and setting the stage for the next 20 years of pop music. So he still deserves your props. Hell, the next song on this list wouldn’t exist without that discovery.

-THE BEGGING: Sam Cooke begged. Al Green begged. It’s an R&B tradition. Listen to Eddie or Gerald LeVert sing. Listen to Keith Sweat. Teddy Pendergrass was a master at it. PLEASEPLEASEBABYIMSORRY. “Cry for You” literally has a passage in which the members of Jodeci are singing “Baby I’m beggin’/baby I’m beggin’/baby baby”. K-ci sounds so unhinged, you half expect him to appear next to you on his hands and knees with snot pouring out of his nose.

I’ll leave the closing paragraph of this post to YouTube commenter Jaleesa Oceana, who encapsulates “Cry for You” and its video perfectly: “Jodeci was in the desert with leather on singing cuz a girl was gone for AN HOUR. if you don’t love me like that, don’t love me at all.“

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