Welcome back! Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving holiday. Before I left for a short sojourn on the Peninsula, I gave this track a listen once through and became mysteriously and familiarly comfortable. Having returned from creating new memories with friends and family this past weekend, I’ve finally sat down to give the song another go. Almost immediately, the comfort returned. I was taken back to cruising in Mom’s Buick, on the way to the shopping mall, a phoneless car ride, being serenaded by the radio and enjoying each other’s company.
For anyone who grew up in the 80s and 90s, and whose parents got down with adult contemporary radio like Mom did, Ms. Baker was a staple for the Quiet Storm and one of the most genuine female vocalists of that prolific era of R&B. As a solo singer, her delivery exhibited a combination of desire and confidence, especially in one of her most mainstream songs, You Bring Me Joy.
MonkeyRobot, a duet of producers from Brussels, utilize the hook of You Bring Me Joy and give it a deserved soulful downtempo rework. Anita Baker‘s gorgeous alto voice is strewn over cut-time beats in the intro, and climaxes to a fully charged C+C Music Factory-like keyboard-driven house beat at the 3-minute mark. But it’s light on the cheese, and fortunately doesn’t make a mockery of sweet Anita‘s original. The production quality earns top ranking among the song’s best elements. Lower on that list is instrumentation, which at times isn’t rhythmically consistent enough to get into a solid groove. But it’s small potatoes compared to the remix on the whole.