Reviews of Smokey Robinson Songs -
Hushed Harmonies

As I've noted elsewhere, I'm mainly focusing on Smokey Robinson songs with the Miracles, or the older of his Motown oldies.

But! To whet your Smokey-centric appetite, I will include a few solo Robinson reviews on this page.

Reviews of Smokey Robinson Songs -

This song is pretty well textured. I can understand why it rubs so many fans the right way.

The first drum taps remind me of the opening to (non-Motown alert!) "Careless Whisper," the Wham! song. Funny how that title initially seems to capture the spirit of "Cruisin'." Except that Smokey Robinson's performance is not always muted and is anything but casual.

My biggest thrill comes from his rare, lower-pitch coos. They wash out seductively within just four syllables. He shows further voice control with instant octave changes and scratchy melisma on words that ought to sound smooth ("gliiiiide" and "go insiiiiide").

Smokey's vocal grip turns into a stranglehold when he squeaks through the interlude. But he balances the catches and the looser quivers in his voice well. Compared to him, the popup backups sound colorless.

At four and a half minutes, it's longer than the average Motown oldie. Still, interesting instrument lines pack the arrangement. Violins whittle their notes down to nubs. A tambourine rikki-tikkis almost subliminally. Guitars ploop-ploop along.

Overall? I don't "looove it." The poet laureate of pop has done better work. However, the music and that voice drape it so warmly and with such distinctive touches. If solo Smokey Robinson songs are supposed to curl up to your ears, and tickle, and blow, then this one is no exception.

If you want more of the singer himself, then visit my Smokey Robinson biography!

Top of Reviews of Smokey Robinson Songs