"One of the most respectfully disrespectful song of all time."
- Pierre Up There
Have you ever heard a song play thousands of times but one day you finally listened to the lyrics and not just the beat and melody? Have you ever done so, and had a totally different viewpoint of the song entirely? You probably grew up hearing an Isley Brother's song at some point in your life via family reunion or cookout because the old folks controlled the music content. I recently got a chance to actually listen to the Isley Brother's Hello It's Me. Originally written by Todd Rundgren but most if you will probably be more familiar of the Isley Brothers’ version, who I feel owns it. Think about Whitney Houston's All Always Love you, which is originally sung by country musician Dolly Parton; but you'll never hear anyone prefer Parton's version. Ronald Isley aka Mr. Biggs transcends the song from its original rock n’ roll form, to the smooth song we’ve heard thousands of times at the end of every black family function near the end of the family turn-up.
Mr. Biggs was cocky and arrogant but above all he was smooth in his delivery in his lyrics. To give the song context, I can picture Ron having a phone conversation with his love (or like) interest. He showed her interest in the beginning, said and did all the right things that would sweep her off her feet. All of a sudden he ended things. Some time goes by and he isn't heard from in months; and just as she was getting over him he pops back up with a late night phone call like, “Hello”.
Hello, it's me I've thought about us for a long, long time Maybe I think too much but something's wrong Something's here that doesn't last too long Maybe I shouldn't think of you as mine,…but I can't help it baby
You see that!? Mr. Biggs, begins running that game by letting her know that, although she hasn’t heard from him, she’s (most importantly their relationship when he says, “us”) been on his mind the entire time of his absence. Yeah right, smooth one bro.
Seeing you, seeing anyone as much as I do you I take for granted that you're always there I take for granted that you just don't care Sometimes I can't help seeing all the way through, baby
While it may sound like he’s pouring his heart out and even being vulnerable as he admits all of his faults like “taking her for granted”, but never, under no circumstance does he ever apologize for them.
It's important to me
That you know you are free Cause I never want to make you change for me, babe (don't change, don't change) No, I wouldn't change you, change you for the world (don't change, don't change) No, don't change, girl (don't change, don't change) Stay as sweet as you are (don't change, don't change)
Bruh, did he just make it clear or not? It’s important to him, that she knows she is free. So in other words, no you’re not my lady, we’re just vibing right now. You’re free, and I’m free too. When he says I never want to make you change for me, is just another way of saying the classic cliché, “it’s not me, it’s you” line.
But one thing I want you to do is
Think of me… Think of me, baby
Yo, this dude just sent what is arguably the greatest mixed signal ever by way of song! Immediately after the first chorus, telling the woman, he wouldn’t/couldn’t change her (meaning her single status by not committing to her) and that she should be free (allowing him to be free), He then “But, think of me” line! Bruh, so in other words he’s telling her, go out to happy hour with your girls, entertain that guy that might be interested, but consciously think of me all while doing so. Don’t forget about me while you’re doing it.
You know I'd be with you if I could Come around and see you once in a while If you ever need a reason to smile I'd spend the night if you think I should
So basically, let’s be friends with benefits. Ron Isley you're not slick, trying to throw it out there that you’ll spend the night if “she” thinks you should. In other words, he’s shooting his shot by putting out there that he can’t stay with her, but he could make himself available to “be/lay with her”.
It's important to me That you know you are free Cause I never want to make you change for me, don't change
And I'll come around and see you every once in a while If you ever need a reason to smile
Just don't change, girl (don't change, don't change)
Ron Isley, I'm not sure if your still playing these type of games, but when you recorded the vocal to this song, you created the Holy Grail of let's just be friends, but with benefits. But then again, Karma is a you know what because R. Kelly did steal your girl, three times; Keep it on the Down Low, Contagious, and Busted.