“Angel in disguise” by Brandy – Yellow Diamond – VIBE.com

Cynicism is a growing phenomenon in music. It’s hard to find true love songs these days. Its name comes from Rihanna’s “We Found Love”, yellow diamond is a series of lyrical breakdowns in which VIBE Senior Music Editor Austin Williams celebrates songs that sound like love found in a desperate mainstream.

Last Wednesday (May 11), Jack Harlow make headlines Something other than his recently released second album.on the way to publicity go home kids miss you, the Kentucky native stopped by New York’s Hot 97 morning show to watch what the radio host called “WhiteIshWednesday.”Without a doubt, the whitest thing that happened was Harlow do not know BrandyThe voice in “Angel in disguise” in the music trivia game.

While this column celebrates love songs in a landscape of long-abandoned romantic music, I can’t begrudge a 24-year-old rapper unaware of a ballad released the year he was born.Even Brandy seems to take the situation lightly because The Queen Star Kidding Early Tuesday morning (May 17) on Twitter, “I’ll rap this guy at my own pace at 43 and still sing [h]is going to sleep. But what really shocked others – so much so that some even thought it was offensive – Harlow didn’t seem to know who Brandi was at all. Seeing the internet’s reaction to this sparked a long and winding line of thought, This prompted me to revisit the lyrics to “Angel in Disguise,” a wonderful song about someone who still loves your ex and hates them for leaving you.

As a music journalist, millennial and black, I experienced four different emotions as I watched Harlow struggle to name a song or singer he heard on his morning gig. My expectations weren’t very high at first, and I was initially impressed when the beat of “Angel in Disguise” dropped and he guessed the song was by Aaliyah. when. . .when never say never After the single was released, even critics at the time compared its production to Aaliyah’s most popular hit,”millionth. “

My next feeling was a secondhand embarrassment. Because once Brandy starts the record’s opening monologue, it should be obvious who the singer is.It’s hard to overstate the former’s fame mosha The star was at the turn of the century. Aside from her superb singing which earned her the nickname “The Vocal Bible,” Brandi’s face and voice have been on television throughout Harlow’s life. Her hit sitcom peaked in 1998 and would run syndicated on white and black networks for the next two decades—the latter, which Harlow presumably saw as someone interested in black culture. As I write this, I can’t think of a singer-actor with a more recognizable voice than hers.

The next thing I felt while watching the viral clip was head-to-toe nausea. Although Laura Stylez, one of the morning show’s three hosts, hinted that “she’s on a TV show,” Harlow still couldn’t guess who was singing, but co-host Elaine Ebro Darden offers an even weirder tip: “Her brother has an amazing sex tape.”

As a child of the TMZ era, Harlow immediately warmed up, but despite being familiar with her brother’s exploits, still had no idea who Brandy was. “Who is Ray J’s sister?” Yes Danger— The style quote that most irritated R&B fans last week. Knowing the unexpected roughness of reducing Brandi’s legacy to a sibling relationship with a man known for his tabloid stories, the last emotion I felt was schadenfreude.

For a long time (just a few months, honestly), black women expressed their attraction to Jack Harlow online. Most black people silently experience this phenomenon because “first class“The rapper is totally fine, very funny and talented, and incredibly tall – which means we don’t have the ammunition for hate at all. But when I realized my sisters in Christ were going to attack this young man, my heart broke Thinking, “We caught him,” is my best impression of Drusky.

I’m obviously joking. Neither I nor anyone else I know has anything against Jack Harlow. But the irony of this naughty hatred (and even Brandi’s own tongue-in-cheek response) is that “Angel in Disguise” is a hateful-looking love song.

Someday, I’ll delve into R&B’s long tradition of dirty love songs, including songs like Destiny’s Child’s “she can’t love you“Mary J. Bleitch’s”i can love you,” and Joe’s “all things (your man won’t do). But today, inspired by Jack Harlow, the trivialities of Twitter, and none of the new R&B music I’m interested in, I start with “Angel in Disguise,” an ironic period love song with subtle hints of hate. .

angels have always been considered
Become one of God’s most precious works
I guess that’s how she lied to you
Because she’s an angel in disguise

The hurt and pain will never come from her
That’s why you left me to find out
hurt and pain involving her
but now you see your error

Now you see your angel is fake
But my love has never been misplaced
Look, baby, my love is real
Most importantly, I still love you

The monologue heard in Jack Harlow’s hit 97 clip is a spoken prelude to the aforementioned “Angel in disguise.” The lyrics differentiate the record as a love song while making room for hatred. If Harlow goes back to his hotel room after leaving the radio station, searches for a track on Spotify, and hits play hoping to hear a song about a lover, they must be angels on earth, he’s wrong the second time that day time.

In this poem, Brandy clarifies that the real angel in disguise is the woman her partner abandoned her. Another woman, once considered one of “God’s most precious works,” apparently “tricked” the singer’s man into thinking she wasn’t. In this sense, Brandy’s opponent is not an angel in disguise, but a demon disguised as an angel.

However, despite her ex finding out his new lover was a hoax, Brandi insisted, “I still love you.” What makes this dirty circus so interesting is that it’s incredibly dramatic, even A little insensitive. Imagine your heart is broken and your ex calls you and says, “The hurt and pain will never come from her/ So you left me just to find out/ The hurt and pain involved her/ But now you see yours Wrong.” These are Shakespearean expressions of hate.

I feel strange
the way you say her name
when you look into her eyes
I see a desire you can’t refuse
It’s more important than what you say
Because in your sleep you called her name
you said she was just a friend
I knew it then because it was raining, oh-oh

She seemed familiar the day I met her
Who is she lying to?
i know what she’s doing
Doubtful thoughts caught my attention
I’m in her game, I’m lost
Please stop the rain oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

While the prelude is the most balanced part of “Angel in Disguise,” expressing as much love as jealousy, the aforementioned first and second stanzas illustrate why there is a confrontation in the first place. In the first stanza of the song, Brandy details the doubts that ultimately prove to be feelings of hurt and betrayal. Twice in these lyrics are references to the singer’s partner getting so sloppy with his cheating that he slipped and said the name of the chick next to him. Despite these glaring missteps, he insisted she was “just a friend”.

In the second stanza, Brandy recalls meeting this “friend” and realizing she wasn’t. “Who is she lying to? / I know what she’s doing,” the vocal bible murmurs in her signature timbre. At the end of the second stanza, she pleads with someone or something—perhaps God, the universe, or her ex himself—to “stop the rain,” which begins with the first verse.

Despite being passed on with enthusiasm, both verses are shockingly loveless. They’re more about the past than the future that Brandi hopes to create by expressing her love, whether it’s weeks, months, or years after the fact. But this romantic negation is necessary for the Dirty Spurs. In order for someone to effectively position themselves as the better option, they have to make the person they like — or in Brandi’s case, her ex — feel a little silly to entertain other people in the first place. This subtle confrontation makes the declaration of love and retribution in the song’s chorus so profound.

She’s an angel in disguise (Oh, you hurt me, baby)
But somehow you fell in love with her (yes, but I’m still here)
Although she broke your heart that day (still love you)
leave you in the rain
But I still love you (oh, I could be crazy, baby)

She’s an angel in disguise (but I love you baby)
But somehow you fell in love with her (somehow you fell)
Although she broke your heart that day (she left you in the rain)
leave you in the rain
But I still love you

More interesting than a white rapper with no encyclopedic knowledge of black music or a 13-year-old sex tape is that loving someone can include enjoying the pain another person causes them. However, despite any thought experiments I might draw from it, I’m not sure I agree with the concept.

I am a bit of a stingy person myself. It means that I can often find joy in other people’s failures, whether that joy comes from surpassing certain peers professionally or seeing Black Twitter’s boyfriend of the month being dragged down the timeline. But when it comes to people I love, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to relate to the feelings expressed by the chorus in “Angel In Disguise” above.

I felt a slight celebration as Brandy sang, “She broke your heart that day / Left you in the rain / But, I still love you.” The lyrics didn’t read the way they expected Thankfully. Instead, they seem to express a mood more rooted in contempt—a mood that often produces great music and can add a level of contempt. romantic realism to love songs.

But when I unravel my feelings about “Angel in disguise” and discuss how sublime it sounds in terms of my interpretation of its work, I’m back to the same question: “How the fuck has no one ever played the role? Before the Jack Harlow song?”

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