Song Of The Week: “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” by En Vogue

No matter how many years you spend devoted to learning everything about popular music, trying to achieve the ultimate status of el music geek supremo, two things will always hold true:

Firstly, there will be times – many, many times – when you think there’s nothing new to discover. You are wrong. You will be wrong the first time you think this and you will be wrong the 20th time you think this. The well is bottomless.

Secondly, even on your deathbed, you’ll still be surprised to discover, “Wait, that song was originally done by somebody else?”

So, on to En Vogue, who formed in Oakland, CA and immediately struck gold (and platinum) with their 1990 debut album. Over the course of the ensuing decade, they had trouble staying out of the #1 spot on the R&B charts, and trouble reaching the top of the pop chart, as three of their singles stalled at #2.

One song which hit the Top 10 and received widespread play on the MTV and the VH1 in 1992 was a sexy little number titled “Giving Him Something He Can Feel.” Imagine my surprise when I recently found out the song was written by Curtis “Superfly” Mayfield for Aretha “The Queen of Soul” Franklin, who scored a moderate hit with the single back in 1976. En Vogue’s producers used almost the exact same instrumentation and arrangement, which lent a retro vibe to the beautifully sung new track.

You’ll make discoveries like this, as well. Yes, you too will exclaim with wonder, “Wait, Elvis first recorded this?” and “This is a Devo song?!” and “I don’t care what Wikipedia says, this can’t be a cover of Britney Spears’ fourth single.”

Sometimes you might find you like the original better, and sometimes you’ll prefer the cover, since it’s the one you’re familiar with. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s something you can feel.

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