Jerry Butler

Suite for the Single Girl

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Jerry Butler's second release for Motown, like his best efforts, exudes maturity, intelligence, and warmth. The best tracks here are quintessential "singers songs" that oddly haven't been covered elsewhere. On the album's biggest track "I Wanna Do It to You," Butler blunted the song's request with a "like you did it to me." Whether he meant "relations" or a neatly crafted affirmation, the song was his biggest hit in close to four years. The title track is a skilled and well-crafted lament, co-written by Butler and started off with his "Brown paper bags are telephone pages / Books on life as seen by sages / Yet she can't understand." One would be hard-pressed to find a more pessimistic ballad for unattached women. Butler didn't let up in his role as armchair psychologist: "Music in Her Dreams" has him singing the praises of a woman who has to put her love of singing on hold. "Only Pretty Girls," perhaps the richest and most subtle of the bunch, completed the "Unfulfilled Women Trilogy" with a perfect match of commiserate tone and subdued arrangement. This being a late-'70s effort, Butler also had to do his time on the dancefloor, and "You Gotta Believe in Me" benefits from a good bassline and Butler's charm. Suite for the Single Girl was the most successful album during his three-year stint with Motown.