Though it is now regarded as a modern classic, DeBarge’s In a Special Way wasn’t exactly a high priority for those who deemed themselves discerning music lovers when it was issued.
After all, this was a good-looking quintet of teen idols aimed at kids who favoured Right On and Black Beat over Rolling Stone, a pin-up ready product of the Motown machine that brought the world their predecessors The Jackson Five. While some were generous enough to acknowledge their knack for harmonising, that was often where the praise stopped. “All style, no substance,” many critics cried.
Or so they thought.
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