Song of the Day #2,642: ‘Play to Win’ – Al Green

algreenUnlike movies, television and books, music is an art form that allows for passive appreciation. Many songs reward careful attention to the lyrics, the melody, the production. But some music is best heard in the background — of a dinner party, a restaurant, a club, even a grocery store.

I don’t know if it’s an insult to say that I consider Al Green a perfect passive artist. I love the man’s voice and the general vibe of his music, but it isn’t the sort of thing I’ll sit down and dissect over headphones. And I won’t play it in my car, which I consider active listening. But as the backdrop when company’s over, slam dunk.

I feel that way about smooth R&B and jazz in general. The laid-back vibe bores me if I examine it too closely but works just swimmingly as decoration.

Hey baby, it’s you again
If you’re gonna play, you’ve got to play to win
Hey baby, the time is right
Only tonight he’s out of sight

I know it’s you, for what I know
Tell all the guys, it’s time to go
Your love is all I need
For ever and ever is what I seek

Oh baby, ooh baby, ooh baby
We’ve got love
No money, no diamond rings, ooh baby
We’ve got love

I know just what I’m sayin’
I ain’t lyin’ and I ain’t playin’
Only the love is what I need
You can see whatever you wanna see

I can’t share your love alone
If not tonight, oh baby, then I’m gone
Whatever you say, I know you’re right
Only tonight, only tonight

Oh baby, oh baby, oh baby
We’ve got love
No money, no diamond rings, ooh baby
We’ve got love

I know just what I’m sayin’
I ain’t lyin’ and I ain’t playin’
Only the love is what I need
You can see whatever you wanna see

And I can’t share your love alone
If not tonight and then I’m gone
Whatever you say, oh, sure you’re right
Only tonight, only tonight, only tonight

Ooh baby, oh baby, ooh
We’ve got love
No money, no diamond rings, ooh baby
We’ve got love

Ooh baby, oh baby
We’ve got love
Hold on, hold on, hold on
We’ve got love

We got it, we got it, we got it
We’ve got love
We got it, we got it, we got it
We’ve got love

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,642: ‘Play to Win’ – Al Green

  1. Dana says:

    I think it really all comes down to the lyrics for you with regard to active vs. passive listening, as I wouldn’t consider this song passive from a musical standpoint in the same way as a Sade record for example.

  2. Peg says:

    I think I would listen to this while driving and even while walking on the treadmill, to me anything without lyrics is passive listening perfect for dining or reading like jazz or classical music for example

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