Monday, June 8, 2020

Certain Songs #1836: Ray Parker, Jr. – “The Other Woman” | Medialoper

Album: The Other Woman
Year: 1982

. . .

After three albums of pop-funk with Raydio that yielded crossover singles I still remember even though I ignored them at the time, Ray Parker, Jr. struck out on his own, and in retrospect, it seems like he’d been listening to a shitload of Prince, because “The Other Woman” is a genreless mash-up of rock and pop and funk that stand as the man’s best song.

With Parker being his own rhythm section — Keef rhythm guitar, funky bass, straightforward almost stiff drums (plus cowbell) — “The Other Woman” is a classic “fooled around and fell in love” song, the rogue not expecting the greatest fuck he ever had to turn him.

I’m in love (I’mmmmmmmmm in love)
With the other woman
My life was fine (liiiiife was fine)
Till she blew my mind

Parker leads with this chorus, and it’s a killer: the perfectly placed backing vocals by Anita Sherman and Lynn Smith, and that insinuating little five-note sax hook sneaking in and around it.

And also insinuating: Parker’s cooler-than-cool vocal, the vocal equivalent of the shrug emoticon; like he’s already process that all of his fucking has left his life totally fucked, and he’s all “oh well, whaddaya gonna do? My stupid penis.” Which why even his “Whooa” before the guitar/sax duel in the middle is perfunctory: all of the weight, all the power is carried by the backing vocalists.

After that, “The Other Woman” goes into its amazing bridge, during which you really feel for his significant other.

Oh this affair is unique
All my life I never met such a freak
She keeps me goin’ strong for so long
When I get home it’s all gone
Makes me wanna grab my guitar
And play with it all night long

So, just to recap: he’s out fucking the other woman half the night, to the point that when he gets home, he’s too limp-dicked to do anything, so then he picks up his guitar and starts playing. What an asshole!!!

Anyways, in the end he tries the moral equivalence defense, asking if anybody else in his audience has ever experienced this, as if that’s going to mitigate anything.

Of course, I kid because I love every single thing about “The Other Woman,” and I wasn’t the only one: it made it all the way to #4 on the Billboard pop charts, an auspicious beginning to his solo career, and high enough that it would hard to imagine him topping it.

“The Other Woman”

“The Other Woman” Official Video

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