Teena Marie’s “Portuguese Love”


Maybe, as I wrote in a e-mail earlier this evening, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands. After all, here I am, gushing again about some piece of music that has struck me.

While the overall content of the e-mail isn’t particularly relevant, one part of it is: the part where I discussed my fondness for “Portuguese Love,” a song from Teena Marie’s It Must Be Magic.

For once, my comments will be brief. All I’ll say is that the drama in the tune, made palpable by the Brazilian touches in the arrangement (subtly filled with percussion and moved along by an odd-sounding bass and syrupy strings), has always gotten me. It Must Be Magic CD CoverThis is one of the most tragically romantic songs I’ve ever heard. Lord knows what I would do if ever a woman I deeply loved were to pull me back from suggesting a breakup by saying “I ain’t gonna let you go that easy” with as much passion, with such deep conviction. Such emotive delivery is made possibe by the lyrics, which are filled with such powerful imagery (e.g., “from the first kiss to the last I’m trembling”) that they leave me with a bittersweet vision of the singer falling in love with someone on a clear night in Portugal. I could almost imagine being part of the scene. (Sidenote: if you can find a recording of it—the one I have is by Peter Bernstein—check out the Tadd Dameron tune “On a Misty Night.”)

I think I’ll have to play this one for my class tomorrow…

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