Forgive me, I'm not being lazy I'm just killing a couple birds with one stone. But, over the last month or so, I've been getting asked for links to this particular post from the former TheRezidue.com. I wrote it in March of last year and I've been told its a favorite of many. So since an unusually high number of people have asked me for a link back to this piece over the last month or so, I figured I'd repost. Enjoy.
Yesterday, I kept having old Alexander O'Neal and Cherrelle songs popping up in my head for some reason. I grew up listening to these songs on the radio and I remember seeing the videos on TV. But you know how it is when you're a kid, you know the words, you know the melody, but you don't completely grasp on to exact meaning of the songs...you feel me? You know, like how people like to play Earth, Wind & Fire's "Reasons" at their wedding...if you listen to the words, you'd know that's not the look.
Anyways, as a grown man, I'm really just now starting to understand exactly what Alexander O'Neal and Cherrelle were saying in their songs. I mean, I've known what they've been saying for some years now, but I mean, what they are saying to each other. Am I late to the game for just now discovering this? Obviously they were singing to each other on the many duets they had, but, their solo songs seemed to be a part of a long saga that Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis might have thought up.
Now before I get into this, let me start by saying that that damn Alexander O'Neal was a straight up p**** hound. This dude went hard on his songs! My brother said that from the looks he used to shoot the camera, he seemed like the kinda cat that thought like "ok now, I can sing and you can give it to me...or I can yell and I'll take it!" That said, lets start with the scenario from this "Innocent" video.
Playa ass 'Zander O'Neal walks into a diner (probably after an intense night of playing with his nose) looking like the got damn Big Bad Wolf. He spots a sweet, cute little Cherrelle and they exchange a couple looks. From the looks of it, 'Zander is the man around town as all the ladies in the diner are throwing themselves at them as if its nothing new. Cherrelle is trying to play the "innocent" role, turning down 'Zander's offerings of "alot of love." She looks like she's starting to break, but dude might have messed up saying some bold shit like "you know you could lose your innocence." When ol' girl hears that she snaps, slaps dude and runs in the bathroom to cool off. But, the Big Bad Wolf done laid his mack hand down so strong that she think she sees this nigga in the got damn mirror! That's not all, check this shit out. Dude left his car keys on the jukebox earlier so that when she walks out, she can choose or lose. She straight chose, took the keys hopped in his car, pulled up and told him to get. That's some cold game dude laid down. Peep the story for yourself below.
[Side Note: Its always a trip how back in the day the word "love" was used to substitute the more graphic terms we use when talking about sex. Oh yeah, see if you catch the "that's fragile" reference. That's some slick literary allusion right there.]
"Innocent" Alexander O'Neal f/ Cherelle
Aight, so, after they ride out, some miscommunication must have went down on the way to the crib. Evidently, Cherrelle's "innocent" girl routine turned out to be exacly what it looked like, some straight up d*** teasing. I'm not sure if they made it to the crib or not, but at some point between the diner and the house, she got on that bullshit talking about "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On." From the looks of the video, 'Zander must have gotten pissed...he went from Big Bad Wolf to straight gorilla pimp on her ass.
Cherrelle "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On"
Now, you know how niggas do when girl get on that bullshit. They do one of two things: get mad and snap or beg their ass off. Sounds like my man 'Zander O'Neal opted for the latter.
After calming down (and probably coming down from his coke high) he got emotional realized that he wasn't going to be hitting that night, and probably no time soon. So what does he do? What most niggas with blue balls would do...he hits the streets looking for the next candidate. You have to remember now, he's far from the diner where all the willing hoochies were at. So, after roaming the streets and coming up empty, he takes it to the crib where it looks like gave his mattress and pillows the business. See it for yourself in the "If You Were Here Tonight" video.
After all that dry humping, I guess 'Zander O'Neal got himself back together and decided to give it another shot. Much to his surprise, Cherrelle was entertaining his advances. Now, seeing this change in behavior, I have to assume that Cherrelle must have been playing those games because she already had a dude she was messing with, but things were going kinda sour at the time.
Cherrelle "Artificial Heart"
You know, since things in her relationship weren't exactly on the sunnyside, she probably wanted to hook up with ol' 'Zander but didn't because she wasn't all the way sure about how to do it. So looking back on the situation, she handled it like a lil' player, you just can't be having niggas from the diner all up in the house when you got a dude who just might be home or on his way there. So, after a couple conversations and rendezvous, 'Zander and Cherrelle decided get sneaky freaky on the weekends.
Alexander O'Neal & Cherrelle "Saturday Love"
[there aren't any story telling scenes in this vid, but the lyrics at the end tell the story for you: Never on Sunday, Monday's too soon...Tuesday and Wednesday JUST WON'T DO!...Thursday and Friday, we can begin...But our Saturday love, Will never eeeeeeeeend, *sugar*]
Eventually they must have got their schedules down pat to where they could see each other more than just once a week, but they still had to keep it on the low.
Alexander O'Neal & Cherrelle "Never Knew Love Like This"
[notice that they are never actually seen together in this vid until the very end. They are in different places playing phone tag and hiding their relationship from the cameras until they catch them at the end.]
Now, besides folks being all up in their business, everything seems to be going pretty good. They got a cool little understanding going on here. I mean Cherrelle was really down for this shit. Peep these vids:
[the hook says "I don't need commitment...all I need is just to be close to you"]
Hell, she even tells 'Zander that he's on his job, for real for real.
Cherrelle "Everything I Miss At Home"
Somewhere something happened though. Their little arrangement started falling apart. I think this is around the time 'Zander O'Neal started going overboard with the booger sugar, because he just started going off for no apparent reason. It didn't help that dude in the video above obviously wasn't him. That must have got him feeling all defensive and paranoid and shit.
Alexander O'Neal "Fake"
[peep how he going off about how the woman he's singing about having long hair one day and short hair the next. funny how Cherrelle went from short to long back to short in the video above]
Alexander O'Neal "Criticize"
[peep how he was sweating hard as hell singing "don't criticize my lifestyle!"]
Eventually 'Zander's outbursts became too much to deal with so Cherrelle started cheating on 'Zander and Jimmy Jam and Terri Lewis by rolling with some of Whitney Houston's producers to put out an album. The single was "Never In My Life." The song is pretty much about growing tired of a relationship that just ain't right, wanting something new. Peep it or listen.
Doesn't sound like 'Zander O'Neal was really faded though. He got back on his Big Bad Wolf and got back on the prowl. From the looks of this video, he upgraded from cheap diners to more classy establishments. Hell, at some points, he even sounded like he was telling Cherrelle "you still got the number."
Alexander O'Neal "All True Man"
Now, to the best of my knowledge and research, all of these songs are presented in chronological order. So in saying that, man, there had to be some real life shit going down between these two. You don't just make songs like these and release them in this order by mistake. Either that or them and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis done fugged around and crafted an epic audio soap opera that deserves some type of award.
Once again I ask, am I late in discovering this? I mean, I already know I'm crazy for putting this long ass blog together, so that's not in question. But really though...ya'll got to feel me on this one.