Underappreciated: SWV's "Right Here (Human Nature Remix)"

 SWV VEVO, YouTube

SWV VEVO, YouTube

I hear you, I hear you.  This still gets a ton of play on your favorite oldies stations.  And yes, it was on a major motion picture soundtrack (Free Willy), featured a sample from the King of Pop, and even managed to reach #2 on the Hot Billboard 100.  

But that still wasn't enough.  

SWV's Right Here (Human Nature Remix) should have been a #1 song (and surely would have taken the spot for sure if it wasn't for Mariah Carey's Dreamlover).  So today we honor this underappreciated gem and the odd route it took to legendary status.

Let's begin with this.  The version that we all know and love (set to the sounds of Michael Jackson's 1982 hit, Human Nature) is a remix from Teddy Riley.  The regular version sounds a little something like this.

SWV VEVO, YouTube

The generic sound made it sound like any number of new jack swing knock-offs.  That is, of course, assuming you made it past the spoken word interlude:

 
Yeah Le, Imma do that/ Imma let him know that I aint going nowhere. And my love is gonna to be right here.

For real doe!

WORD.
 

Thankfully Riley had the foresight to push the song in an entirely new direction.  Combining it with the soulful sounds of Jackson's hit (likely getting his permission after working with the megastar on his Dangerous album).  

Out were the fast beats and oddly placed rap solo.  

In was a trademark MJ falsetto, a short guest rap hook from Riley protege, Pharrell Williams (yes, THAT Pharrell, who provides the memorable "S-Double-U-V-V" refrain), and a cameo from Keiko the Killer whale in the video.

And here's the thing, the group initially HATED the remix.

SwaysUniverse, YouTube

How they could hate the song genuinely baffles me (it's SO good!), but if there is some area to talk about with slight pause, it could be the video that was shot for the remix (and the Free Willy soundtrack).  

SWV VEVO, YouTube

While this video is a perfect product of the early 90's, even as I kid I had a few questions.

Like...

Did They Take The Day Shift And Record The Video At The Same Castle Sting Used?

Sting VEVO, YouTube

At an early age, I was confused why everyone needed to be a some kind of renaissance fair, with some kind of weird castle-like structures in the background.  But I went along with it because music videos played by their own rules.

What Was Up With Coko's Nails?

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 3.06.56 AM.png

Again, I know, it was the 90's.  But I can't help it if it reminds me of this...

 

Having said that, she was always my favorite.  Her voice is ridiculously awesome.

I Don't Believe For A Second Those Kids Are A Band

I can take the leap of logic and figure Michael Jackson's involvement probably required that the band be made up entirely of kids.  But they're half-assing the playback.

Hell, I'm even going to go out on a limb and say they DIDN'T ACTUALLY KNOW HOW TO PLAY THOSE INSTRUMENTS.

Shocking, I know.

Of course, it's the kids that beg the even more important question...

Why Is That Kid Playing A Set Of Bongos (That Are Nowhere To Be Found In The Song)?

Seriously, kid, it's nice and all, but you're not helping the song.  It's like telling a kid to go nuts on a guitar without actually plugging it in.  

And finally...

I Also Don't Believe For A Second They Actually Enjoyed Pretend Fishing

All right, with all of that out of my system, I do have some good news all of these years later.

Turns out the three members still regularly tour and actively perform the song live.  And, fortunately for all of us, they not only seem to have found a new love for performing the remix, but they're also still pretty adept at performing the song live (unlike a number of old artists who struggle to perform their best pop and R&B hits from the 80's and 90's).

Anyway, this will not be the last time we honor the wonderful ladies from SWV (there is another song or two that is SEVERELY underappreciated from this legendary group).  For now, let's take a moment to acknowledge the timelessness of this great track.

You Know I Got Soul, YouTube