“Fun” by Tony! Toni! Toné! (1993)

I finally learned how to make an accent mark! Fun!

…which is the title of this juicy album track from TTT’s 1993 album Sons of Soul. The back-to-basics “Neo soul” movement of the ’90s really took flight with this and Me’shell NdegeOcello’s Plantation Lullabies, which was released that same summer.

“Fun” is a deep cut, buried halfway through Side 2 for those who bought Sons on cassette (which I did initially) or the recently issued LP, marking its first wide availability in the U.S. It’s an uptempo cut with super simple lyrics about enjoying yourself. I’m not totally sure about this, but I think Raphael Saadiq and his crew might also be using “fun” as a euphemism for fucking and/or getting stoned. There’s a lyric about working the stick in Raphael’s new ride, and I don’t think he’s really discussing driving. Then again, I could just be stuck in teenager-dom, trying to find the hidden sexual meaning in everything¹.

Anyway, the key to what makes “Fun” such a great song is the energy. It’s upbeat and playful and even though Raphael’s voice (which may or may not be sped up) is at its highest and even goes off-key a couple of times, it still gives me a dose of funky positivity when I need it.

¹-I don’t think I am, though. I think the Tonyies really wanted to sing “fuck”, but couldn’t.

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