Jheri Curl June: Sylvester’s “Mutual Attraction”

I’ll confess that this is one I’ve been sitting on for a while, mostly because Sylvester and Jheri Curl Music are two great tastes that don’t necessarily taste great together. Sure, there’s some overlap–both 1982’s All I Need and 1983’s Call Me have the odd synth squiggle that sets my Jheri sense atingle–but by and large, the “Queen of Disco”‘s dominion was squarely in the dance/Hi-NRG pocket: of the same lineage as the music we celebrate, yet ultimately distinct.

Still, I can’t seem to let go of the idea of exploring the common ground between Sylvester and J.C.M.; so, what the hell, here’s the title track from his final album, 1986’s Mutual Attraction, arguably as close as he ever got to orthodox J.C.M. The song, like its parent album, is a little more sedate and muted than Sylvester’s usual fare–likely one reason why Mutual Attraction is rarely cited among his greatest work. But his soaring falsetto remains in fine form–he hadn’t yet contracted the AIDS-related illness that would tragically end his life just two years later–and look, if Sylvester of all people wanted to take a break from the dance floor, who are we to tell him no? It may not be “Do You Wanna Funk” or “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” but “Mutual Attraction” is the smooth and silky cooldown we didn’t know we needed.

There’s more Jheri Curl and Jheri Curl-adjacent music–uptempo and otherwise–in the playlists below:






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