Force MDs “Tender Love” is a jam, you hear me? It’s as good today as it was in 1985, a nod I give to just how good GOAT writers and producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are at song creation. The video, though, is awesome in a different way.
Be clear, I love this video for many reasons. For starters, if you were to tell me this video was some sort of spoof, I’d believe you. It looks like a Sesame Street segment is about to erupt; Oscar wouldn’t be out of place. Part of that is because so much of the very beginning makes no sense. I’ve never seen this many Black men who all know one another fuck up dap this much. There are missed hand slaps aplenty. That just doesn’t happen. They sing together and know each other for real. Homies develop a rhythm at dapping. These niggas flub the whole shit. I love it. I kind of would love to see all of the members watch this joint and make amends for that.
Further, this 80s fashion is whew chillay. But you know what? Those were the times. It looks a hot mess but like, a perfectly time-specific hot mess. And that dressing is exacerbated by the odd dancing. So, in my crew of friends, I’m the dude who always does too much. I suck at slow dancing because I was always trying to, ya know, jam. So I totally understand my mans who dance hard with their hands on a slow song. That happens a lot. There is so much more shoulder action than is really necessary for the successful execution of performing this song. But again, that dude is me and I am him.
Also, the rhythm was a little...off. I don’t know. I appreciate the authenticity there. These brothers suck at dap, there’s no way in hell they’d all be on beat. Being good at dap doesn’t mean you can’t keep time, but being bad at dap absolutely means you are incapable of keeping time. This shit is science, b.
More also, these videos are reminders of just how old people looked even in the 80s. Everybody in this group was in their early 20s at the oldest. If you told me they were 40, I’d believe you. It’s that same Queen Latifah energy, who as I pointed out, has either been 19 since the early 90s or 40 since the early 90s, and no answer is wrong.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out how sad this video actually is. The song is about wanting to tell this woman in the window how much he needs her. These dudes took over a stoop Stalka Style to sing to her, and she seems welcoming enough, but then she just literally ghosts the lead singer. And just when you think that he’s going to sit there, alone, and she’ll emerge from the door, nothing. Buddy brought his struggle-dap-singer-homies to serenade her out a window where she literally sits, watches, smiles and seemingly enjoys the show only to leave him, his red leather fedora and sometimes-it’s-there-sometimes-it’s-not-white jacket hanging. He ultimately leaves, sadly, but also without the white jacket, which he did have in the first place, but I suppose is a metaphor or something for cutting losses? I don’t know, but white jackets aren’t free, I hope he went back and got it.
I love mid 80s videos simply for stuff like this and because so many of our favorite songs from this era had absolutely ridiculous videos. Also, Elmo could have saved the day. And any video where Elmo could save it is nothing short of iconic. That’s the tender love. And it’s still one of the greatest songs ever.