Jesse Jarnow

“let me love you” – mario

week of January 22, 2005
#1 this week, #1 last week, 14 weeks on chart

What’s amazing to me about the “Let Me Love You” isn’t the tune’s particular catchiness (I mean, it’s alright), but the way it places itself in that very specific slow-dance space. More, it conjures the same vibe as (say) “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, even though it literally sounds nothing like it, and draws from an entirely different palette of synthesizers and sonic gimcracks. In some ways, it’s like discovering that we can keep finding new and exciting ways to mix different elements with (basically) the same results. (In other ways, it’s like remembering that one can mix any number of radically vivid colors together and still get brown.)

But let’s go with the former for the duration of this post.

The base of Scott Storch’s production is an alternating groove of subtle bass drum (with subtler melodic properties) and handclaps. Then there’s swelling synth string section that sounds on the verge of shorting out (though it could be the mp3). There’s also another keyboard that surfaces occasionally that sounds a bit like a pedal steel swoop, but it disappears quickly. This all makes the vibe, Mario’s voice merely reinforcing it, and adding a few more hooks to the top.

I particularly like the not-really-call-and-response that feeds into the chorus, where no questions are posed (and no answers are given), and Mario sorta sounds like he’s reacting to obviously rhetorical inquiries even though it’s just obvious boasting. Lots of voices: “You’re the type of woman.” Mario: “deserve good things.” Lots of voices: “Fistful of diamonds.” Mario: “Handful of rings.”

Maybe that’s what good pop is: answering questions that weren’t asked with answers that aren’t answers. How’s that for a Greil Marcus-y conclusion?

Cue Warner Brothers outro theme, Porky Pig, and “That’s All Folks!”