For this week's Second Listen Sunday, I wanted to return to the seventies and give flowers to a forgotten group, The Floaters. The five-member Detroit group hit the scene in 1976 and was known for their hit song "Float On." That song was such a mega-hit that most wrote the group off as one-hit wonders, even though they released three albums.
"Float On" kicks the album off, and it's easy to see why the song was a hit. The production starts with smooth instrumentation allowing the members to introduce themselves. We then let the instrumental ride out. In my mind, producers James Mitchell and Marvin Willis did this intentionally to give fellas time to get their game right before approaching a young lady for a dance. Furthermore, if you heard the song, you know it mixed popular seventies trends, star signs, and video and phone dating, "My name is Ralph, and I'm an Aquarius. Now I prefer a woman who enjoys freedom."
The group's second was a cover of Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." The group effectively turned the song into a male point of view. The Floaters croon about a man who desperately wants to bring back his lost love. He feels lonely and misses holding her close. He pleads with her to return to him, stating that he doesn't need her to say she loves him. He wants her to be close at hand. He reassures her that he will not tie her down and understand if she cannot stay forever. The lyrics reflect the universal desire to feel loved and have someone to hold on to.
"You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" also suggests that the man is willing to make compromises and sacrifices for the sake of his love and wants her to be present in his life. Despite their separation, he still cares deeply for her and wants her to know he will always be there for her. Overall, "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" is a romantic plea for lost love, filled with longing and hope for a happy ending. The lyrics express vulnerability and raw emotion that many listeners can relate to, making the song a timeless classic.
The rest of the album is a typical seventies soul project. "Got To Find A Way," "I Bet You Get The One You Love," "Everything Happens For A Reason," and "Take One Step At A Time" are all up-tempo numbers for the dance floor. "No Stronger Love" is a mid-tempo ballad" while the closing number, "I Am So Glad I Took My Time," is a slow-drag ballad for the end of the night.
While nothing on the album exceeds the heights of their breakout single, The Floaters' debut is a solid one-time listen.
Final Grade: B
Float On is available on all streaming platforms.