Ari Lennox & Anthony Ramos' "If You Want Me To Stay" Will Leave You Frozen in Your Tracks
Photo courtesy of Crown Royal
Some songs hit so hard on the first listen, they leave you frozen in your tracks. "If You Want Me To Stay" is that rare type of song. Though it was originally released by Sly & The Family Stone in 1973, Ari Lennox and Anthony Ramos have come together to give it a new life. Fair warning: it might make take you on a train back in time.
The song's intro opens the door with a stabbing bass line, plenty of hi-hats, and a retro guitar repeating two notes. The entrance of Lennox's vocal guarantees your entrance into the song's universe. Once the side stick snare hops aboard, there's no turning back. As the bass lines continue to evolve with no end in sight, Ramos' vocal arrives, introducing a new duet element to the song. The two wondrous vocalists then join forces in unison, initiating high speed time travel.
"If You Want Me To Stay" is reminiscent of the post-Motown Philly Soul wave representative in songs like The O'Jay's "Backstabbers," but Lennox and Ramos gently blend it with the timbre of Erykah Badu-era R&B and the texture of modern soul. Even the song's cover art has that retro, original vinyl cover feel with a faded effect, pink overlay, and a photo of Lennox and Ramos back to back.
Everything about this song embodies both the rhythm and the blues, from the vocal melodies to the tasteful keys and horns which complete the fiery groove. But the groove isn't the only thing resonating with a pulse. Lennox and Ramos are using their gift to help small businesses and lean into the pulse of small communities. The two partnered with Crown Royal and Main Street Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to helping small business and communities throughout the United States.
In an interview with Atwood Magazine, Lennox explains that the song's new version speaks not to a person staying around, but to the small business, including the "bars, stages and clubs [she] performed in" which "are now in danger of closing due to the global pandemic." Crown Royal is donating a dollar for every single stream of the cover.
Say less. I already had the song on repeat, but now I might just break the replay button. Lennox and Ramos have brought "If You Want Me To Stay" aboard the wave of modern R&B. Though a new version, the song carries the same soul, written into every note.
Listen to "If You Want Me To Stay" below: