Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, and because there are only so many times we bitter single types can listen to Stevie Wonder’s appropriate “Tuesday Heartbreak” (“Guess you just don’t care”), The Roots’ superstar drummer Questlove has compiled a new anthology under the Babies Makin’ Babies umbrella, with at least one eye on classic Philly soul. Whereas the original 2002 collection focused on the fruits of new romance, this edition is the equivalent of one of those break-up mixtapes from High Fidelity’s Rob Gordon. Not surprisingly, Stevie Wonder’s heart-wrenching song for his then-new ex-wife Syreeta takes a central position in this line-up. “Cause We’ve Ended Now As Lovers” stands tall alongside Stevie’s own crippling divorce postmortems from Talking Book: “Blame It On The Sun,” “Lookin’ For Another Pure Love,” and the practically mystic “You And I” (Wonder’s most translucently gorgeous composition). Despite Syreeta’s adamant repetition of the fact that the relationship be referred to in the past tense, “Cause We’ve Ended” still reveals a dangerous hint of recidivism. The pleading qualifier to the song’s title refrain wonders, “Does our love for one another have to end?” Syreeta undoubtedly wrote the lyric, though it’s uncharacteristically submissive given the primary motivation behind their split was Stevie’s conservative notions of marriage’s domestic structure. “Cause We’ve Ended” is an effective microcosm of the compilation’s flavor. All the songs either look over their shoulders with regret or, in the case of Betty Davis’s fierce “Anti Love Song,” stare down an impending affair with rational self-preservation that cuts the possibility of rejection down before it can even develop. But the swank studio arrangements belie a deep-seeded conviction that love exists. Which is why it even makes sense when Questlove throws in an instrumental interlude from The Blackbyrds called “Mother/Son Bedroom Talk.” Although I’d have to hope no babies would be makin’ babies in that particular scenario.
- Release Date
- February 14, 2006
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