For today, I decided to break out the boxes of 45’s and see what I would come up with. The random-choosing process was a bit less scientific, and I rejected the first single I picked (it was a Christmas song). Eventually, I ended up with Jermaine Stewart’s 80’s dance hit, “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off”. Not bad at all.
First and foremost, I have to admit that when this song was popular in 1986, I thought this was a woman singing. While he doesn’t sound like he’s castrato or anything like that, his vocals are definitely higher than normal. Secondly, resisting an invitation to getting naked is not something I’d imagine would come from a man. What can I say? Gender stereotypes are hard to ignore.
Mr. Stewart, on the other hand, was clearly not looking for anonymous sex here. “…come on baby, won’t you show some class” was his plea to whomever he was addressing, as that person was clearly moving too fast. Instead of that “quick hit”, Jermaine proposes they “could dance and party all night, and drink some cherry wine.” Though, one might wonder if he was really concerned about his partner’s elegance or addressing the concern that came with the rise of AIDS – especially considering he died of complications from the disease in 1997.
Social issues aside, the song is a fun little bit of 1980’s dance R&B. I always have fun listening to it. It’s one of those songs you’ll whistle just to break the silence (or annoy co-workers). If you call yourself an affectionado of 80’s music but haven’t heard this song, you need to remedy that immediately or relinquish the title.
The B-Side (for the US release) is another track from the album Frantic Romantic entitled “Give Your Love To Me”. This is definitely the antithesis of the A-Side, as here Jermaine sounds downright seductive. I guess this is the song that would play after they were done with their “cherry wine”. This smooth R&B track sounds like the background music to a love scene in a slapstick comedy, where the characters are trying to get intimate with each other but keep tripping over the ottoman before finally setting the entire room on fire when they clumsily knock over the romantic candles.
Though many may write him off as a one-hit wonder, Jermaine Stewart actually did fairly well as a recording artist. It’s a shame he died so young; a comeback of sorts wouldn’t have been far-fetched.