The Temptations: Dream Come True (You’re My)
he Temptations’ value as Motown’s premier vocal group has become critically overlooked. They’re nothing more than an accouterment to upbeat montages in films or a backdrop to a nostalgia trip. That Meet the Temptations hasn’t been canonized beyond reproach is a shame, but alas, is another topic for another day. From The Temptations debut comes an ode to longing and lovesickness captured by the masterful songcraft of Berry Gordy and performed by some of the silkiest vocalists from the label’s heyday.
“Dream Come True (You’re My)” seems to exist in a world all unto its own, where everyone wears matching suits and the air is shrouded in a thick plume of smoke. The sound of this would-be environment is expertly captured. The only percussion is brushed hits, each accent decaying into a haze of hushed piano chords and lonesome guitar strums. When the backing vocals and organ play (0:22 and 1:24), it is like a symphony playing from a parallel universe. Separately, the parts are ordinary if unremarkable, but as a cohesive sound, I could swear this was a string section until later listens revealed that the backing Temptations were being supported by organ alone, creating a totally alien sound. This moment could very well carry the song, but even this otherworldly aura is topped.
Lead vocalist Eddie Kenricks can be called a lot of things: the smooth one, the high-pitched one, the one the ladies love. But without his range, the pangs of loneliness don’t resonate the same way. The elevating melody of Kendrick’s “‘Cause you’re my-y-y-y” is a howling and impassioned cry for acceptance. But there are some things you can’t communicate with words or even with a human voice. When Eddie Kendricks sings, “Yes, I've been waiting for such a long, long time”, you don’t really believe it until the solo organ comes in. This machine has a voice of its own, a warm, humming thing that seductively wraps itself around the sulking bass and brushed snare hits. He may be singing “I love you” but that organ solo says “I need you.” Rarely are these sentiments articulated so well. Even more rare are they done in fewer than three minutes.
By: Matt Chesnut
Published on: 2004-10-06
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