Stephanie Mills - "Never Knew Love Like This Before"

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A special thanks to Andy for inviting me to participate.

About the genius of Stephanie Mills' "Never Knew Love Like This Before" you know: one of the last disco crossover hits; as unassumingly touching as Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You" or as slinky as those Chic-produced Diana Ross hits. Although "...Love..." was her only pop crossover smash, Mills' career turned out to be rather long-limbed. She got a second wind in the mid '80s, scoring a series of R&B chart hits whose vocal anonymity -- thanks to one of those paradoxes of which so much great art is composed -- projected an Everywoman girlishness that reminded us of what makes falling in love so thrilling in the first place (unlike, say, Whitney Houston she never presumed to think that love made her A Better Person). These qualities are arrayed in their most regal finery in "I Have Learned To Respect The Power of Love." As the Patti LaBelle-ish grit of her lower end mitigates the creamy yearning of her high end the backup vocalists affirm L-O-V-E with an unfussy gospel fervor. Eros never met agape with such little bloodshed.