“Encore” by Cheryl Lynn (1983)

“Encore” was the second and last #1 R&B record for Cheryl Lynn (you’ll hear about the first when we get to the “G”s). It was also the very first #1 R&B record produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (who probably have at least one song placement in every letter of the alphabet on this list). A lot of times, one star is ascendant while the other is descending and they meet somewhere in the middle–this is one such example.

The lyrical conceit of “Encore” is cute. Cheryl’s taken with a guy whose lovin’ is so good she wants a repeat performance. Cheryl, as always, is in great voice. She was one of those big-voiced divas who never seemed to undersing anything, which is fine. One thing that separated Cheryl from the rest of her leather-lunged sistren is her unique phrasing and diction. She has a way of overpronouncing and bending words that no other contemporaneously popular singing (bar Chaka Khan, of course) has. I love the way she sings about how she wants to “break it down now” in a super nasal voice, it has so much character.

It goes without saying that Jimmy & Terry produced a groove. Although modern pop production caught up with the production duo in the early ‘90s, “Encore” represents a period when folks weren’t quite hip to Jam & Lewis’s iteration of the Minneapolis sounds. It sounded completely fresh and novel for its time. And despite 35 years and tons of callbacks via sample, it still sounds fresh. 

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