Let me start by saying I miss the hell out of 90’s and early-aught R&B, especially the male singers. If ya’ll only knew the body rolls which commenced for David Hollister, Brian McKnight, Case, Donnell Jones, Carl Thomas and Joe. I’m so glad I wasn’t sexually active during a majority of their reign, I’d have Fiddy-leven children by now. I was ecstatic when my a friend posted a new Joe single on Facebook this morning. I paused my work, grabbed a hot brewed cup of tea and nestled into my office; making sure to close the door behind me. This girl was prepared for her journey back to hair wraps, acrylic nails with airbrush, junior and senior year of high school and even my first two years of college. That feeling of infatuation, lust, and sweet gibberish whispered in the ear with the sole purpose to open thighs. Good times!
Unfortunately (Read: Fortunately) I am now a 36 year old woman, married with 2 children with a full time day job who’s also an author and blogger who has lived through many facets of relationship B.S. I am also a proud womanist who can, not only see just how fucked up many of these songs were but, also point to why we loved them so much. To keep the depth short, I’ll simply say misogynistic conditioning.
Joe’s new single is titled “So I Can Have You Back”. To fix it to it’s unsheathed name, I’ll call it. “Obviously You Left Me For Some Reason, I’m Salty About That, I Hope You Have a Horrific, Miserable, and Tragic Incident In Your New Relationship…So I Can Have You Back”
I know many of you will say I’m reaching but we need to start being honest with each other about the bullshit we love. Don’t get me wrong, I will sing Donnell Jones’s ‘Where I Wanna Be’ to the top of my lungs, I also acknowledge the song is the epitome of ain’t shit. How am I supposed to be cool with you saying ‘baby, I need some different pussy. Can you sit here while I go get it? Oh and if you go on a date with the Karl Kani dude, I’ll stalk you outside of the restaurant until you come back to me.’
With every note I warble out, I know the ranges of each misogynistic tone of songs I used to and still love. I’m OK with that, I’m not saying burn your Columbia House collection with your bras, I’m saying acknowledge the fuck shit that are these songs and try to find something better to fall in love with to balance yourself out.
Take a Listen and I’ll give you my list of why this song is so wrong, I can only giggle:
1. Wishing harm, be it physical, emotional or mental on his ex.
I hope he makes the biggest mistake
The unforgivable that makes your heart break
I hope you tell him “sorry is just not enough”
And it goes from good to bad, so I can have you back
Here’s the deal. We’ve all been through break ups and said some really fucked up shit in anger. Things we hope happen to him/her, their dog, their mama, their car etc. The difference is, we don’t hope these things as a ploy to get them back, we do it as a good riddance, war cry. We are wrong, but the majority of us are not seriously hoping this happens. We say it to be petty and snarky, at the end of the day, we lick our woulds and move on.
Joe wants and needs his ex to go through hell. He’s not admitting he’s wrong, or letting her breath so that maybe…just maybe she will forgive him for whatever transgression and she decides of her own volition to get back with him. Nope, he’s chilling at a dinner table hoping shit goes wrong for her so she will crawl back on glass to be with his messed up ass.
Don’t come for me listing every female artist who has done a psycho song or low key obsessive album. I know they exist and I am exhausted with them as well.
Really though, what does Joe mean by the biggest mistake? Cheating, hitting, verbal abuse, choking her dog, erasing her DVR??? That line is triggering and vague as hell. It conjures up the worst in human personal traits for me. You want this girl to go through hell, just so you can have her back. What in the obsessive possessive hell is that??
2. The video nor song ever really gets into why Joe and the girl break up
The song doesn’t touch on it at all. The video shows a slow motion, arms flailing about argument with the woman draping in weave and yoga gear. Are they fighting over cheating, dirty dishes or the light bill? This is purposely left undone so we are left with the idea that their break up must not have been over something big so, c’mon girl, go back to Joe.
He says in his song ‘And I accept the blame as to why you’re with him’. Is it because he did wrong? If so, of course, he should take the blame, he’s not getting a medal for that. If he didn’t do wrong, don’t be a guilt martyr; don’t take blame which’s not there to guilt her into coming back. Also, Joe, don’t be so arrogant. You can accept the blame as to why you guys broke up, but to think you are the sole reason as to why she left and has a new boyfriend is conceited. It implicates she didn’t move on for herself; it has to be because of Joe’s fuck up. Even in his wrongness Joe still sees himself as the greatest man ever and the only reason anyone would ever date someone after him is to somehow get back at him personally.
3. Lemme break these lyrics down
And I accept the blame as to why you’re with him
He wouldn’t approve of us just being friends
Please, that’s all I need
(I’m all for being friends with Ex’s, however, if you are begging and pleading something tells me you don’t just want to be friends. That’s not good for me or my new relationship. Listen Joe, of course new guy wouldn’t approve because you don’t JUST want to be friends)
Out of respect I back away for a while
Promise to keep me in mind
(Thanks for staying away and letting me know it’ll only be for awhile. You’ll be back to stalking me soon…soon.)
There is nobody like you
(So I can have you back)
Without you, I don’t know what to do
The love you gave to to me
I’m using it to breathe
I know you think I’m wrong
But it keeps me holding on, to you
Keeps me holding on, to you
(I’m not a tree or oxygen tank. Writers of music please stop this. There are more ways to express your love for a person than to tell them you will die if they don’t love you and get back with them. It’s manipulative. Trust me, all singers do this, both men and woman. It’s both petty and creepy. I accept I have belted these songs out during a break up Häagen-Dazs haze, but after I took a shower and reevaluated my life choices, I realized I’m not a possessive, manipulative punk. I can breathe just fine.)
5. Lastly, I’m going to be petty
What’s up with the steak on Joe’s plate? What is that? Why do you need a steak that big? This isn’t Ponderosa. Where are your side dishes? You’re just having steak and water?
You can love the song or hate the song, you have that wonderful prerogative, all I ask is that we acknowledge the big ass psychotic, misogynistic elephant in the room. It truly is amazing what I can see in in my 30’s that I was so very blind to in my late teens and early 20’s.
I’ll leave on this note. Read the lyrics to this song. He wants her broken so she will crawl back to him because he has a God complex; only he can fix her. Also note, not once does he say he ever loved her. He speaks about the love she gave to him, but not once does he say he ever loved her. That speaks volumes.