40 Years of Teena Marie’s “Irons In The Fire.”

Released: July 6, 1980

Genre; Soul, funk, disco, R&B

Label: Motown

Producer: Teena Marie.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t think there’s a R&B enthusiast alive that would say Teena Marie isn’t one of their favorites. Teena was an ARTIST, okay! She could not only give you vocals, but she was a talented musician and producer. Teena came on the scene working with label-mate and frequent collaborator Rick James on her debut album “Wild & Peaceful.”

Since the album didn’t have any photos of Marie, many radio programmers thought she was black in the earliest stages of her career, until she premiered on Soul Train. The album is known for its hits “I’m a Sucker for Your Love” & “Deja Vu (I’ve Been Here Before)”.

Her follow up record “Lady T” featured the classics “Behind The Groove” & “Aladdin’s Lamp.”

Teena’s third studio album “Irons in the Fire” came 6 months after “Lady T.” Written & Produced solely by Teena, she became one of the first artists that was a woman to arrange and produce their own album (a rarity at the time). Considered to be a personal favorite of Teena’s, Irons In The Fire is a R&B masterpiece, even 40 years later.

the soul/R&B record with elements of funk & disco is mesmerizing to say the least. The 8 songs on the record, makes it even more special because it has no skips, and Teena Marie has an enchanted love affair with soulful music. Irons in the Fire was released July 6th, 1980, and peaked in the top ten of the R&B charts. 🙌🏾

Ladies & gentlemen, I present to you: Teena Marie’s “Irons in the Fire!”

I Need Your Lovin’

 

Written by Teena Marie

The opener for the album is the funk & disco influenced “I Need Your Lovin’.” Everything about this song is flawless. From Teena’s voice down to every single instrument played, I Need Your Lovin’ sets the tone for the album.

The song has Teena singing about needing the guy’s love. The song became a top ten hit on the R&B charts around the time that “Behind The Groove,” and it became a trend of Teena’s lead single being an uptempo & positive number.

The song has been sampled by Jadakiss, & Snoop Dogg

Young Love

Written by Teena Marie

Young Love is easily one of Teena’s songs period. Young Love tells a tale of a love affair that is getting old for the once love birds. Teena questions her lover, wondering why he wants to let go of their relationship in a sultry & smooth ballad. It was a single from the album as well, and was sampled by Teena herself for her 2006 single “Ooh Wee.”

First Class Love

Written by Teena Marie

First Class Love is another uptempo number from Teena, has her sending her lover on a great trip and that is to the land of her love!!! Originally one of her demos before signing to Motown, First Class Love is a rock influenced song that gives us a glimpse of how versatile Teena was as an artist, and gives you a vibe of what’s to come from her 1984 crossover hit “Lovergirl.”

Irons in the Fire

Written by Teena Marie

I’ve got to keep my irons in the fire…

…sings Teena on the title track of this album. If we take a look at what “Irons in the Fire” means, that said person is tackling too many projects at a time. One could have said that to Marie at the time due to her being on her third studio album in a year, etc. Teena then goes on to serve this ballad as a slow inspirational record by stating how keeping those many irons in the fire has blessed her tremendously.

While the song isn’t a single, it serves as one of her best songs ever!

Chains

Written by Teena Marie

Chains is a mf song! Chains is a tale of how Teena is feeling a prisoner of her lover’s love. She’s feeling tied down to this man and don’t have a clue of what her name is half of the time. We’ve all felt locked up in a relationship. I love this song the older I get.

You Make Love Like Springtime

Written by Teena Marie

“You Make Love Like Springtime” is a whole vibe. When I say this woman knew MUSIC! This song showcases how R&B & Latin inspired music merges well together. Speaking of how her man makes love like springtime is pretty self explanatory. Springtime is usually everyone’s favorite time of the year. It’s beautiful flowers growing, nice weather, etc. & if you have love making skills that can have someone saying it is reminiscent to a whole season, come my way! Haha.

Tune in Tomorrow

Written by Teena Marie & Mickey Hearn

I am judging you if you don’t like “Tune In Tomorrow.” If you want to hear vocals, here is VOCALS for your ass! We get a smooth jazz influenced ballad of Teena scatting and showcasing her many talents.

You Make Love Like Springtime (Reprise)

Written by Teena Marie

Don’t you miss the era of the artists revisiting a song on the album at the end of the album? This “reprise” picks up where “You Make Love Like Springtime” left off at and closes out the album with this remarkable song.

Teena Marie will always be one of the greatest musicians of our time. Her follow up albums after Irons in the Fire were albums where she had full musical control over her catalog and that’s what we’d love to see! Teena passed away in the afternoon of December 26, 2010, leaving behind a remarkable legacy.

I don’t like to think of Teena Marie as an underrated artist, because she was everything an artist should be and who ladies wanted to emulate that came after her. Your presence in music is truly missed, and like you..we’re keeping our irons in the fire. – MJ