This track, I’ll stress this again: now this track, is the one that left no doubt how important the DeBarges and El DeBarge specifically is to modern R&B. “Stay With Me” from what became their most popular album “In A Special Way”, was released in 1983. Buried deep in the album, was this track that more than hinted at the direction many other musicians would take hip-hop and neo-soul. You can hear the influence tracks like these would serve to the Weekend or Frank Ocean, and the feel that many rappers would want to sample in countless tracks.
Something about that melody, played by El, is unique, it vacillates between a slow and fast tempo so effortlessly simply by playing with aural space; space between piano notes, lilting vocal phrases that seem to follow just a bit behind the thrust of the song, and disparate sections being dropped and rejoined at will. Its a thoroughly modern day version of R&B, done when most of it was looking to date itself.
In the end this track has a very dark sensuality, enticing the audience with some darkness then enveloping them with a sweet finish. Just as you figure the song is going to end on a certain feeling (somewhere around the 3 minute mark)… El drops all this feeling and ends the song on a very spectral note. This is “All This Love” being reimagined for future musics, and an ingenious way to let others go back and pick up the torch El help light. Its no wonder that this album the song is off of is also a critical favorite, there’s just something about it…more on that tomorrow (the final bit from the DeBarges).