Deon Estus - "Heaven Help Me"

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George Michael, unlike his putative idol Stevie Wonder, is not known for producing other artists. He made an exception for his bass player Deon Estus, co-writing a Top Five pop and Number Three R&B in 1989 that raises the question: what would Michael have sounded like if he'd courted the Sade market? (or another question: how do you keep the royalties pouring in while recording your anticipated follow-up?) The mild-voiced Estus is a dead ringer for Michael, which no doubt helped his chart chances after Faith had emptied its cache of singles (a milestone which looked increasingly sui generis after 1990's Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 augured a rather morose -- if not moribund -- period). The template for "Heaven Help me" is a languid variance on Faith's "Hard Day": breathy harmonies, electric piano, finger snaps, subtle trumpet. It's sophisti-pop worthy of the great one-offs released two years earlier by the likes of Danny Wilson and Swing Out Sister; it's as if Michael, understanding the dynamics of arranging and producing a good understated ballad, had reconfigured the parts he'd stolen from his chart competition. "Heaven Help Me" could have so aped Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley or, I dunno, Curiosity Killed The Cat (sorry, Thomas).