Easy Vs. Zoom!
In 1977, the Commodores released their biggest album, “The Commodores.” By now, I knew who the Commodores were. But, this was the album that turned me into a raging Commodore fan and made Lionel Richie my idol. The album contained nine songs, Squeeze The Fruit, Funny Feelings, Heaven Knows, Zoom, Won't You Come Dance with Me, Brick House, Funky Situation, Patch it up, and Easy. Now we all know that Brick House and Easy were the BIG BLOCKBUSTER HITS on the album.
The truth for me is, minus Patch it up and Funky Situation, I loved every song on the album. I remember picking up my bass and going straight to Easy to learn the bass line. I would then play Brick House. The funk on Brick House bass line was vicious! I would run downstairs to the living room, sit at the piano, and figure out how to play Easy by ear. Then run back to my bedroom, grab my bass, and, well, you get the picture, hey, I was 15 years old.
But every now and then, I would flip the album over and play Zoom.
Zoom grabbed me in a way I could not explain at the time. It was a more mature-sounding song. It felt like adult music compared to Easy. Musically, it was harder to learn than Easy. Often, I’d put my bass down and give up. I bought the sheet music to Zoom. It’s in a sharp key signature. I struggle with sharp keys to this very day!
Unlike Brick House and Easy. I would find myself standing in front of the mirror, room door locked, mic in hand, singing Zoom with the record as if I am live at MSG performing the Commodores.
There is a heart and soul in Zoom that Easy never captured. Easy is a feel-good song; with a feel-good melody. Zoom takes you within to your deepest thoughts and feelings. Zoom is that get-away song, and not only do the lyrics say I’d like to fly far away from here. It is the song's soaring strings that make you feel like you are flying away!
Each instrument in Zoom seemed to be strategically thought out and executed. Easy is more of a wall of musical sound just being played, heart and soul!
Zoom is meticulously arranged, performed, produced, and recorded. At least that’s how it sounds to me.
Over the decades, I found myself debating with different people, musicians, and regular folks as to which song has stood the test of time, Easy or Zoom? The most recent debate was with my wife Maggie. She feels it is Easy, I say Zoom. It’s the debate with Maggie that drove me to write to you about the two songs.
I, like most people, got caught up in the popularity of Easy, and the big hit it was and continues to be. But I’m not talking about a hit song! I’m asking which is the better song? If one song is a big popular hit over another, does that make it better? One would think, yes! And if that is the case, had Motown marketed and promoted Zoom as heavily as they did Easy, would Easy be the bigger song? Honestly, don’t think so.
Easy continues to be the reigning champion. I think in an undercover way, most people like Zoom better, and it’s most likely more popular love the song more now than when it was first released in 1977.
To me, everything in Zoom is just right. Go listen to it right now, and do not miss the strings. I’ll wait!
How did it make you feel? What about Lionel’s vocals? The heart and soul he placed in every lyric was hair raising. I hope to carry a message in one of my songs like he did for Zoom.
Of course, this is very subjective. That’s music and all creative arts. People love Easy, and people love Zoom. I was an Easy fanatic for years, and then I began playing Zoom, its strings, the triumphant horns, the drums opening the song, and Lionel’s heart and soul vocals, eased into me year after year, and now, I hardly play Easy at all, Zoom is my go-to song.
Let me be perfectly clear, I love Easy. It’s the Song of Songs, but Zoom is the universe.
What do you think? Easy or Zoom, is there a winner?