Post-Ring-by-Spring: Music to Be Fruitful and Multiply

Photo credit to Genius.

We all know the Loma cliché: a certain spring breeze makes its way down Caf lane and through the arch of bent knees as young romantics declare their love and intentions of marriage. But what happens after ring-by-spring? After the formalities, the parties, the weddings? Why, only our God-commanded duty to be fruitful, multiply and produce a new generation of PLNU students. In fact, in the face of falling application rates at Christian colleges all over the country, it is your obligation to keep PLNU applications high. Here are a few album recommendations for the bequeathed and the partnered, to help you on your consecrated duty. 

1. “Brown Sugar” – D’Angelo

Dim the lights and don your best satin for this neo-soul masterpiece that revolutionized how soul music can sound and reinvented the way people produce R&B. D’Angelo poured every inch of himself into this project, writing, arranging and producing every song, as well as performing many of the instrumentals in addition to singing. His minimal, sultry voice always sits on top of rich, silky harmonies, gyrating bass lines, fusion-jazz guitar and slow-tempoed, crystal clear drums that will teleport you into an amber-hued, satin landscape of rapture. Pop this one on for a night by the fire, and let the sparks of your staticy satin illuminate the room.

2. “The Show, The After-Party, The Hotel” – Jodeci

The Lords of Sensuality, Jodeci is one of the most successful R&B groups of the 90s with savory hits like “Freek ‘n You” and “Love U 4 Life.” Like the best of paramours, this album is a marathon, not a sprint; full of skits and storytelling, this record combines ambitious, immersive mise-en-scene with reverb-soaked instrumentals and heart-thumping drums. The bright, shimmery chimes and expansive percussion section have a refined and flawless timbre that elicits the ambiance of crystal chandeliers and freshly poured champagne. Like a lock of hair gently brushed behind your ear, this album will do more than just raise bumps on your skin, it’ll send an electric pulse to the deepest depths of your innards. Plunge into that abyss and let Jodeci wash over you like the smoothest and saltiest of waves. 

3. “Baduizm” – Erykah Badu

Is it the pulse? The spiritualism? Her vocal performance just DRIPPING with flavor? Whatever it is, Erykah Badu’s music is quintessential to defining R&B and soul in the 90s as well as being the kind of sound mimicked by many, but mastered by one. No one compares to Badu’s eccentricity and intimacy and the way she imbues every song with a thick, enveloping personality. Listening to Badu involves surrendering yourself; letting her softly stroke your hands as you imagine her singing to no one else but you. In addition, her lyricism is soaked with femininity, wisdom and open-mindedness; her intellectual and sensitive voice can both light up a room or draw the shades, subject to the mood. 

4. “Let The Music Play” -Barry White

Whether your love is new or old, gay or straight, tame or toxic, they can all find solidarity in this lover’s classic by Barry White. This is the model, the prototype for tasteful yet suggestive music. It’s layered with groovy slap-bass, punchy, yet never overbearing horns, and perfectly blended strings that make the tone warm, like a freshly baked bun resting in the oven. White’s deep voice is a key characteristic to the tracks; his pleading and prodding, delivered like spoken-word, is the perfect appetizer for the begging and yearning that spice his tone when he switches to his singing voice. This album pairs well with fuzzy slippers, a cozy fireplace carpet, and fresh shrimp with cocktail sauce; plates not required.  

5. “What’s Your Pleasure” – Jessie Ware

If you really want to turn up the heat, Jessie Ware is what you need; but watch out, it may be too hot to handle. Ware combines the best of disco and contemporary pop to create something that is both innovative and primitive. Like the titular track, Ware’s lyrics of “stop, go, fast, slow,” are sung in this ritardando fashion that drags the melody, but the way it sits over the relentless, pulsing bass drum and flashing hi-hats creates a juxtaposition that is powerfully evocative. The production on this record is expressly manipulative, but if you surrender to it, the pace and journey of the tracks choreograph an elative dance that will propel you to its zenith, despite its indulgent 58-minute runtime.