Reviews of Temptations Songs -
The Music's Alright With Me

What's so great about classic Temptations songs, those rich exemplars of Motown soul?

My long, multipart answer begins here!

Reviews of Temptations Songs -
"Just My Imagination
(Running Away With Me)"

As far as Temptations songs go, this one's on the sadder end of the spectrum.

The opening guitar riff sounds unsure, like it's trying to find its footing. As some tropical-flavored percussion trills gently, Eddie Kendricks shares his romantic trance. His voice is very fragile, but it's still startling when it splinters into multiple pitches like white light through a prism.

No, wait--those are his colleagues! The Temptations were beyond the classic lineup at this point, but no less potent and essential in this song. Paul Williams's sorrowful baritone and Melvin Franklin's boggy bass leave big impressions with just a few choice words.

The violins illustrate the lead's mind game, chromatically running up and "away" only to scramble back down, up, down. It gives me a rueful giggle--oh, that thwarted daydreamer! When he slows on the line, "But in reality, she doesn't even know me," he reminds me that what he feels is more important than what is real.

Eddie Kendricks left the group on (of course) a high note with "Just My Imagination," one of the most touchingly delicate Temptations songs.

Reviews of Temptations Songs -
"Get Ready"

A truly infectious Temptations song, so much so that once the lyrics escape my mouth, the "girl" morphs into a "man" just for me. :)

The heavy beat and brassy punctuations give a terrific reason to turn up the speakers. The arrangement isn't excessively thick, though. Smokey Robinson's magic songwriting touch sends the backup vocals spiraling upward during the chorus. After our steady wind-up, it's a great musical release.

The overlapping falsetto and bass lines exemplify the Temptations' vocal contrasts. Again, the song makes me adapt to its grooves as I unthinkingly mimic Melvin Franklin's "Fee-fi, fo fum." I fail, but I sure have fun trying.

Not that it's all a big R&B party. Between the self-trumpeting and the nursery rhyme bridges lie more perceptive lines, like, "If all my friends should want you too, I'll understand it... / I hope I get to you before they do, the way I planned it." Eddie Kendricks manages some nuance amidst the festive atmosphere.

The word "temptations" suggests the pull of romantic yearning. "Get Ready" handles that subject more raucously than other Temptations songs, but feels equally inviting.

For more on the mighty vocalists behind the Temptations songs, click here for my Temptations biography.

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