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Slowing it Down a Taste: The Quiet Storm

January 19, 2011

The Quiet Storm is a genre and radio format concerned with grown folks music. Named after Smokey Robinson’s 1975 hit of the same name, the genre/radio format is all about being smooth; not to be confused with Smooth Jazz, which is all about putting you to sleep. I see you, Wes Montgomery. Here are a few faves from the genre from my own “Quiet Storm” iPod playlist. As always, y’all post some of yours!


There Will Never Be – Switch
All This Love – Debarge
In the Switch vs. Debarge debate, I am staunchly Team Switch! Bobby DeBarge has a much sweeter voice than El Debarge and their songs had tighter grooves. Besides, I think of “All This Love” as hair braiding music, which is not exactly the most romantic association.

You Should Be Mine – Jeffrey Osbourne
I remember watching BET when this joint dropped and entering a contest, which promised the winner would be able to “Woo Woo Woo with Jeffrey Osbourne.” I do believe Donny Simpson of Midnight Love fame made this promise. I didn’t win. *sad trombones*

Breezin’ – George Benson
Even if you think you don’t know this song; you know it. If you’ve ever watched a scrolling community event calender on the local evening news, been trapped in an elevator, gone to the dentist or listened to talk radio, you have heard this instrumental classic. Now you know who does it and what it’s called.

Reasons – Earth, Wind & Fire
It was a hard choice between “Reasons” and “Love’s Holiday” as both are the embodiment of “The Quiet Storm”. In the end I went with “Reasons” because I makes me think of my teen years and my friend who always sang the word “reasons” in a falsetto voice instead of saying it – even while reading aloud in class. I would laugh and get in trouble. The teacher did not know nothing about EWF.

This Woman’s Work/Lifetime – Maxwell
Sorry, Kate, but Maxwell gives your version a run (up that hill) for its money. I associate this song with La Mommie drinking coffee, Lady Alexis Carrington Colby barking in appreciation and me pretending to play the piano on my bedspread. I also totally thought “Lifetime” was either Al Green or Gerald Levert!

Love TKO – Teddy Pendergrass
A lot of us wouldn’t be here if not for Teddy P! Show your love, people!

Never Can Say Goodbye – Isaac Hayes
Hot buttered Black Moses! This is the best version of this song, which has many excellent versions. His voice is flawless. It reminds me of driving around Burlington when they came for my MFA graduation. My parents in the front singing and me in the back doing to the “ooh oooh” parts.

Being With You – Smokey Robinson
Say what you will about new jack Smokey, but this song is off the chain. Smokey’s big pimpin’ it like Ricardo Tubbs with his v-neck sweater and gold chain! When is Warrick or Terrance Howard doing the biopic?

Lady – Kenny Rogers
This was my jam when I was tyke. I loved it so much. Roger’s – the biggest playa playa around (I ain’t mad) – singing all earnestly about his “lady”. I wonder how many times a day he sang this to a different “lady”.

Dreamin – Vanessa Williams
Besides loving any video involving folks strolling on the beach, I love this slow jam and its pr0nny sounding sax. We all probably chuckled a bit upon first hearing of Williams’ attempt to reinvent herself as a singer, but we probably shut up pretty quick when she dropped this groove. Great looking, strong comedic chops and decent voice. Yeah, apparently life isn’t fair.

Through the Fire – Miss Chaka Khan
When it’s this good, there’s no saying no! My girl Chaka, the textbook definition of “shutting it down”. A total hairbrush anthem!

Just the Two of Us – Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers
Yes, this song is like two hours long with like fifteen sax solos, but it’s sweet and they gotta go for all they know!

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