Al Green

I Get Joy

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The '80s found Al Green again connecting to pop and R&B audiences with his brand of charming and sometimes erotic gospel. After signing with the independent A&M in 1985, Green seemed to grow a little tired of straight-ahead gospel fare and satisfied his yen for pop by way of covers or songs with ambiguous meanings. I Get Joy follows the trend. The ballad "You're Everything to Me" could either be about God or a woman, but he does a nice high-pitched vocal on it. The resigned yet fatalistic "The End Is Near" finds Green snatching the music from the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There." The title track is a rousing old-time gospel tune with churning organs juxtaposed by synthesizers; of course, it also has Green doing some great riffs and growling, "I feel good today." The hit from the album, the new jack swing remix of "As Long as We're Together," was done by Al B. Sure. Unfortunately, the track has too much hardware and the original Truth N' Time-style version of the song was infinitely better. The gorgeous "Blessed" does a better job with the synths; Green sings about everything from an indifferent landlord and returned money to sweating out employment woes, making you believe every syllable. "Tryin' to Get You" would have worked alright if it wasn't for the melody, uncomfortably close to the Eagles' "Take It to Limit." I Get Joy isn't a great Green effort, but with some of his vocals it often comes close.

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