What a transition, huh? Yesterday’s album, titled Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, a Motown classic, makes way for an earlier Motown classic actually featuring the talents of one Diana Ross. Though many of today’s youth may not be familiar with this once premier act of Motown, the Supremes, comprised of Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Diana Ross at one point in the 60’s enjoyed worldwide success on par with that of the Beatles. It is said that their work paved the way for the success of African-American R&B and Soul music moving forward and today’s album, the 2nd of the Supremes’ historically significant discography, has been considered by some to be their finest. Released in 1964 by Motown records, we’re gonna be talking about Where Did Our Love Go.
As can be expected, this album was not written by its band’s members, instead written primarily by Motown’s legendary songwriter-producer team composed of Lamont Dozier and the Holland brothers. It contains no overarching narrative, but I’m kind of glad about that. It focuses on simple and common central themes circling love and romantic relationships, and they serve the pop sound and styles wonderfully. This album is so smooth and unbelievably easy to listen to, and considering its barely 30 minute runtime its hardly a commitment. This album is considered the work that introduced the world to the “Motown sound”, but that’s more for its extreme success than Holland-Dozier-Holland actually perfecting their songwriting. That being said, the production and lyrics which fit with each other like peanut butter and jelly certainly lay the foundation for a wonderfully pleasant listening experience. This album could hardly have spent an unprecedented 89 weeks on the billboard chart on the strength of the production alone, however. This is the boybands and girl groups theme, after all, and its high time that we talk about the girl group who made this album such a hit.
The Supremes, lead by the lead vocal talents of one Diana Ross, are undoubtedly one of the finest girl groups ever assembled. Each voice is not only remarkably smooth, but features its own strengths that interplay with the other 2 beautifully. This can be seen clearly in one of my favorite moments on the album when the 3 trade off lead one word at a time on “A Breathtaking Guy” in order to list off the qualities of a particularly appealing man. Each voice is distinct and confident and, before you know it, they’ve all fallen into the background together to back up an instrumental solo. It’s the chemistry of the singers and the compatibility of their voices that elevate Where Did Our Love Go to such heights and, when you think about it, such complimentary voices are not often given the attention that they deserve in music. It is certainly impressive enough for somebody to be an excellent singer, but to have 3 people who are all excellent singers and who understand themselves and each other well enough to mix is a feat that’s tough truly rare. I know that my theater nerd friends would cite a Capella groups here, but no a Capella groups are even one sliver as cool or important as the Supremes. Also, shut up, this is my blog, it just isn’t the same. These three ladies sure can sing and when their talents are combined one can only describe them as…
I hope that this record puts a smile on your face like it does mine. Thanks for reading and happy listening.