Minnie Riperton's "Reasons" | Bleader

Minnie Riperton's "Reasons"

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The story of Minnie Riperton's life is all kinds of frustrating. Although she possessed one of the most shockingly beautiful voices in the history of pop music—a tender and supple thing that somehow spanned a physically impressive five-octave range—there were only a few years where she was alive and the world at large cared much at all. The Chicago-based psych-pop-rock-soul outfit Rotary Connection that she fronted early in her career wasn't the commercial A-bomb that Marshall Chess presumably was hoping for when he put it together, and her 1970 solo debut, Come to My Garden, was, upon its release, a straight-up flop. (Both Garden and the Rotary Connection catalog have since found a loving audience in the record geek community.) Despite those setbacks fate, Stevie Wonder, and an Epic Records intern managed to conspire to produce 1974's Perfect Angel—its breakout single "Lovin' You" brought Riperton to the level of fame that she deserved, which she enjoyed until her death from cancer just five years later.

While "Lovin' You" is a song for the ages, the ultimate showcase for Riperton's vocal prowess, a direct influence on everything Mariah Carey's ever done, and the best music cue ever to indicate a specifically 70s tender-but-DTF mood, it's far from Perfect Angel's highest point. Actually the record peaks in its first couple of seconds when the riff to the song "Reasons" leaps out of the speakers and rips your head off in a way that a million death metal bands have tried and failed to accomplish. Honestly the entire purpose of the past couple hundred words is to get you to listen to "Reasons." It's best if you listen loud.

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