Friday, August 13, 2010

Song of the Week: (You Were Made) Especially for Me

by Corey Sheppard

"(You Were Made) Especially for Me" is a song off of the Jackson 5’s last album for Motown entitled Moving Violation. This album (like most of the Jackson 5’s last albums for Motown Records) was released during a transitional phase for not only the group but also soul music. At this time the Jackson brothers reunited with the Holland brothers for the album, as with Michael’s early 1975 solo album entitled Forever Michael. Working with new producers gave the boys an opportunity to try out new material and new vocal styles. And this was the perfect song for that.

If you already haven’t picked up, I love record intros. I feel that any artist, any song, has about ten seconds to impress me to either want to listen to the record, or skipped it J. The opening presentation is extremely important to me, and luckily, the Jackson 5 (or should I say Motown) had no problems in this department. From "I Want You Back," to "Lookin’ Through the Windows," all these songs immediately grab you and take you along the ride. This 1975 record was no different.


The intro to this track is the major highlight. Not to say anything bad about the rest of the song, but, once again, the intro is amazing. There are so many things going on in this record. The strings are so haunting, and the flutes are just terrific. Next time you listen to this record, I dare you to close your eyes and let the music take you away!

Once again with this album cut (being one of the last recordings the J5 made at Motown), you get a real sense of the future vocal style of all the brothers but especially Michael. On this record, the sixteen-year-old totally uses a lot of the same vocal runs and effects as he did in his adult years. I find it very interesting to listen to Michael’s man-child voice throughout his teen years. I love the way he makes his voice sound when he sings "for ME" on the chorus especially at 1:59. Jermaine comes in on a line or two for support, but the song mainly relies on Michael

I think perhaps some people criticize this record for being a little repetitive. I can agree with that; it does tend to rely heavy on the chorus. I also feel that maybe some of the J5 fans at the time might have thought this record was not really the boys' style. I do agree that the record could have been recorded by the O’Jays or the Blue Notes (to just name two groups). In my opinion, this record sort of takes its inspiration from the Philadelphia sound created by legendary producers Gamble & Huff. Most of the mid-70s soul was inspired by the symphonic and orchestrated sounds from the innovative Philadelphia International Records, and Motown was no exception.

This song was given a rapid increase in tempo when performed by the Jackson 5 during their last concerts with Motown. It actually became their opening number on a concert in Mexico in late '75 (shortly after Jermaine had departed from the group). This performance (along with their television performance of the track on the debut season of the variety show in 1976) is very entertaining. The dancing is faster than anything they had attempted before it and thanks to Marlon filling in Jermaine’s line in the song; we still get to hear vocal variety among the boys.



Overall, a good record by the boys. It gives you a slight hint of the direction the Jackson brothers would be going in the next two years. So the record has a strong purpose for the J5, because in a way, they were practicing and preparing for the future just like in the Gary days.


Next Week’s Song Hint: If you’re looking for a chance / to move it on up. / To get yourself / on the right track.

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Corey Sheppard, 20, has been a Jackson 5 fan since 1993. His favorite hobbies are listening to music, playing racquetball at the YMCA, and hanging out with friends. Corey’s life passion is centered on music. His latest project is an all-new production company shared with Robert White Jr. entitled "Ask About It Productions."

6 comments:

  1. Another great song analysis, Corey! I love the performance from The Jacksons. The dancing is phenomenal and at the very end, the steps Michael does remind me of the way he danced in "Man in the Mirror." You're absolutely right that you see and hear a lot of the adult Michael in this song.

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  2. Thanks J5C!

    I love the dancing to this track, though I must admit every time they do the turn ( at 0:12 and 1:58 ) it looks as though Jackie is a little slow with it. I can't help but noticed everytime :) but I still love it....and him :)

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  3. Yeah I like the 'immediate grab' too. this is yet another example. When I saw the Mexico footage years ago I was impressed with "You were Made", and searched for it on record, then found it was a bit slower on the record and didn't like it as much. You've got great insight for music, it's really informative to read. Can't wait till you get to 'Sugar Daddy'! -Or 'If You Want heaven', or...........

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  4. Love the beginning too! And have you heard the beginning of Forever Came Today? DAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYMMMMMNNNNNNNNNNNN!

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  5. Maybe Corey should take requests!

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  6. Another great pick Corey! I really like the maturity of the song and MJ tears it up when performing live! A hidden gem...

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