Love Songs

Juice Soul and L.T. Terror’s “Let Me Have My Way”: A Critical Review

"Let Me Have My Way" Juice Soul

(Photo Courtesy of Juice Soul)

“Let Me Have My Way,” the second single from the forthcoming album Too Dark to Turn Back, features the ingenious collaboration of R&B and soul artist Juice Soul, rapper L.T. Terror and producer Chevalier Coleman. These gifted independent black male talents are among the best in the music industry. Without question, they will soon be household names. Last summer’s hottest song, “Tasteless,” their brainchild, put music fans in the mood for romance. With “Let Me Have My Way,” the hot, the sexy, the romance returns—just in time for summer love and lovemaking.

Trained in the Department of English and Modern Languages at the renowned Albany State University, Juice Soul masterfully wields compelling storytelling in his new single; this engrossing storytelling is a singular and characteristic element in his oeuvre. Mr. Soul’s euphonious, mellifluous vocals never disappoint, never auto-tuned, always delivering classic and disarming sounds that drive the ladies wild.

Drawing on the power of vivid, evocative storytelling, Juice takes his listeners on a journey, a love journey, one where sexual satisfaction is promised. We, the listeners, witness a cohesive and intriguing narrative, one apposite for an episode of a quality television drama.

A general proclivity in postmodernism, a historical and cultural phenomenon and the historical and cultural epoch in which we reside, as articulated by cultural critic and theorist Fredric Jameson and scholar Elizabeth Atkinson, is to welcome disorder and ambiguity. Resisting this postmodern impulse, Mr. Soul proffers a substantive story that’s logical and perspicuous and that resonates—he does not simply string some words together, as is, unfortunately, increasingly becoming the case for many popular singers and songwriters. Even some of his distinctive lyrical phrasing, where the vocal styling appears to blur or fade words intentionally for musicality purposes, still permits audiences to understand fundamentally what he attempts to convey.

The song anticipates feminist critique: both artists respectfully invite their desired women to share in an intimate experience with them. In Soul’s case, he wants it to last perpetually: “I never wanna let you go.” Sexual intercourse for him is communal, appropriately tasteful and delicate, never sacrificing, though, healthy masculine performance: “I’m going to give it to you so nice/Tell me how you feel about this?” The artist expresses a genuine interest in evaluative feedback—even during the sexual encounter, suggesting a true wish to please his woman. As artist, father, and professional, Juice Soul remains relentlessly authentic.

While L.T. Terror maintains this authenticity in the song, the rapper does it in a divergent way from Juice. The sagacious rapper, disabusing potential critics of arguments about the song being too idyllic, too mawkish (and it’s not), communicates frank intentions about his desires for the sexual experience, one ephemeral by design, yet vowed to delight. A central characteristic of postmodernism is an explicit embracing and engaging in textual fragmentation, that is, intentional textual discontinuities, and Terror’s lyrics, from a first reading, seem to represent radical textual fragmentation, especially when one juxtaposes them with Juice’s. Sex, however, does not have to be an enduring commitment; it can be a “one-time” experience, as Juice Soul intimates.

For L.T. Terror, this “one time” sexual interaction will include psychic stimulation: “My favorite position is in your mind.” Although the artist isn’t looking for a long-term physical commitment (and isn’t willing to give one), he hopes the woman will eternally remember their time together: “trying to find a home inside of your thighs.” Candid as possible, though, the rapper does not want good sex mistaken for love: “Might see love inside of my eyes/But that’s one big disguise/I’m such a horrible guy.” In other words, enjoy this magical moment, but don’t catch any abiding feelings.

Ironically, the divergences between Juice Soul’s lyrics and L.T. Terror’s form a totality, a unified whole, one reflecting real possibilities, diverse interactions and reactions, and nuanced notions of authenticity.

The track can be purchased on iTunes, and one can hear it on all digital streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal.

Let’s make this single go viral by sharing this piece and keeping the song in constant rotation on our favorite listening devices and music platforms.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Jamie Foxx’s “In Love By Now”: Longing for Love

Jamie Foxx Hollywood Album

(Photo Credit: Hit The Floor)

When one thinks about Jamie Foxx, it’s difficult to resist acknowledging how tremendously humorous he is. An Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy Award winner, Foxx is much more than a talented comedian; he’s an accomplished actor, singer and musician. Although Mr. Foxx does not always receive the credit he deserves for his significant contributions to film, television, and R&B, soul, pop and hip-hop music, the value of his work is unquestionable. Yes, he’s known across the globe for hilarity-generating acts but the artist has demonstrated an ability to communicate his innermost feelings concerning love and relationships—with such heartfelt emotion, tenderness, and candor—not often witnessed in the art of black male vocalists on the national scene. One of Jamie’s most sentimental albums is 2015’s Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses, his fifth album. “In Love By Now,” the album’s most successful single, encapsulates the album and artist’s revealing expressions about love and relationships.

On a 2015 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Mr. Foxx unveiled that the album concentrates on a past failed relationship he had with a woman in Hollywood, California where she left him at a vulnerable time in his life. Foxx had deep feelings for the woman but these emotions were not shared by her. She saw Jamie as a way to move up the economic, social and professional ladder. While many people believe that celebrities like him have any easy time finding authentic intimate relationships, the gifted professional divulges that the Hollywood environment engenders a culture that can make it challenging to experience true love. This past broken relationship has an immense affect on Foxx. It does, however, offer him an opportunity to provide his diverse audience with critical insights about responding to heartbreak, disappointments and emotional voids as he does through the album, especially in “In Love By Now.”

In “In Love By Now,” Mr. Foxx laments the numerous “broken vows” he has endured, which have resulted in love constantly escaping him. He powerfully depicts the influence these unfilled promises have had on his life: “Been drowning in the sea of broken vows.” Music fans normally hear countless female artists convey this type of emotional pain through their art. Jamie’s courage to be frank about his agony allows for other black male artists and males in general to discover the liberty to speak about their relationship hardships, disillusionments, and longings in ways American society typically does not give them a comfortable social space to articulate such sentiments. Such a troubling relationship history has led the artist to viewing experiencing genuine love in an intimate relationship as an elusive “dream.”

From the lyrics of “In Love By Now,” music fans can understand that Mr. Foxx has nostalgia for an ideal and romantic wedding, and he has expected it to happen “by now.” As the song closes, it ends with a modicum of hope. His turbulent relationship history has supplied him with valuable lessons about how to proceed in his future endeavors to achieve his “dream” of real love. Jamie now knows what not to accept and how to identify when a woman is not truly interested in him and not interested in building a lasting relationship. He says, “Eyes are finally open to a love I couldn’t see.”

This single has helped Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses to debut at #10 on the Billboard 200 chart and peak at #93 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison