Wow. Wow. Needless to say, I'm dumbfounded by my iPod Roulette spin today. Not only did I forgot I even had this song on my iPod, but I also forgot that I even had this song, period. However, it's a gem and a half! It's the perfect mid-80's R&B ballad if you ask me — smooth and rich with a vocal breakdown, heaving synthesized bass, and an faux-tropical beat. Sure, it's the only hit the Commodores had after Lionel Richie left (and they replaced his voice on this song with … wait for it … Diana Ross! Lead vocals on the song were taken by Clyde Orange.)
It was a tribute to the late Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson. I have to admit, I know much more about Marvin Gaye than Jackie, but you can hear how much they wanted to craft this song into a "Sexual Healing" type hit (and it was, making up to #3). All this history is well & good, but why does Erik have "Nightshift" by the Commodores on his iPod? Excellent question, and one that I don't entirely know the answer to.
Maybe it was put on there when I was questing for a copy of "Easy" by the same band. Maybe it was thrown into the musical mix when I was on a big Marvin Gaye kick and I wanted the full experience. Maybe I was wildly drunk and watching "I Love the 80's" on VH1 and was inspired by Michael Ian Black to put this on my iPod to fill the missing pop-soul of the decade. Or maybe I just decided one day that I like the darn song. I can't explain it. We can't all be filled with the Broken Social Scenes and the Pearl Jams and the Joanna Newsoms, now can we? If we didn't have songs like "Nightshift" on our iPods, we become what we hate the most: musical elitists with a myopic world view of sound. Bah! Bah! I say to that. I will listen to the Commodores and their 80's wondrousness and I will like every last moment of it. Take that! All I can tell you is that there will be some sweet sounds coming down on the nightshift (hushed) nightshift.