The Closer I Get To You – Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway

I’m not a Roberta Flack enthusiast though I can admit to being a mild admirer.

Sure, she may be feted in the Hollywood’s Walk of Fame; she possesses a soulful, pensive voice which is delightful; and she has scored #1s all over the US Hot 100s, US R&B, and the US Billboard Charts which countless millions can’t be wrong about – but her songs just needed the right sort of mood to be absorbed into. For me, it can be easily be a hit or a miss – since her songs usually aren’t the upbeat, uptempo type which can get you on the groove, if you get my drift.

I recall this song the most clearly back in 2001. No surprise, really, since I absolutely entertained little patience for anything before my own time like any other around that age. Maybe it was because this song really hit me at the right spot of the eardrums. It’s a relaxed, unpretentious but like all love songs, there is the sort of pervasive pensiveness so abundantly found in 70s love songs. Or perhaps because 2001 was really a fantastic year that everything I took in sounded right to the ears even though in normal circumstances, I’d have cursorily dismissed it out of hand.

The genesis of this song is rather more austere than it was when I first appraised it – the late Donny Hathaway was suffering from depression at that time of his successes and apparently, his depression bouts did damage his musical partnership with Roberta Flack so much so that they released no further music from 1972 ("Where is the Love" – [another excellent number]) till this song was released in 1978. This song, while not the last collaborative attempt between Flack and Hathaway, was to mark the resurgence of their working partnership again which would end two years later in 1980 upon event of Hathaway’s suicide.

In this song – you could legitimately expect all the candy cane sweetness associated with love songs, but the beauty and plaintiveness more than allows it to luxuriate in this gem of a song. Definitely one of Roberta Flack’s and Donny Hathaway’s finer songs.

Lyrics:

The closer I get to you;
The more you’ll make me see;
By giving me all you got;
Your love has captured me.

Over and over again;
I try to tell myself that we;
Could never be more than friends;
And all the while inside;
I knew it was real;
The way you make me feel

Lying here next to you;
Time just seems to fly;
Needing you more and more;
Let’s give love a try

(Ohhh)

Sweeter than sweeter love grows;
And heaven’s there for those;
Who fool the tricks of time;
With the hearts in love;
They find true love in a special way

The closer I get to you;
The more you’ll make me see;
By giving me all you got;
Your love has captured me

Over and over again;
I try to tell myself that we;
Could never be more than friends;
And all the while inside;
I knew it was real;
The way you make me feel.

The closer I get to you;
The more you’ll make me see;
By giving you all I got;
Your love has captured me.

The closer I get to you;
Feeling comes over me; (Me too)
Pulling closer (Sweet as the gravity)
The closer I get to you…*[fades]



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