Blue Robot

Flashback to 1991: “How Can I Ease the Pain”

Posted by Shamir Lee on 11/20 at 06:15 PM

The 90s brought forth slow ‘jamz,’ sleek music videos, and a more subdued attitude compared to the prior decade. This attitude change did not only occur in the R&B world, but also in rock as well, with the death of hair metal and the bursting popularity of the mellow, somewhat depressing sounds of grunge. However, R&B and soul was where it was most apparent. Lisa Fischer’s 1991 hit, “How Can I Ease the Pain,” is very representative of this.

The black and white music imagery using chiaroscuro lighting, minimalistic style, and slow pace accompanied by interceding cuts, mirrors the composition of the song. Lyrics detailing the pains of a love with another who doesn’t quite reciprocate the same emotion, Fischer’s vocals, covering a wide range, are smooth and fluid, much like the video.

Fischer is best known for being one of the greatest session vocalists of the era, working with artists like Billy Ocean, Chaka Khan, and The Rolling Stones. She released her solo album in 1991, So Intense, to great success, garnering her a Grammy Award in 1992 for the single mentioned. Despite her success, Fischer enjoyed being a backing vocalist much more and chose to end her solo career. To this days, she continues to accompany The Rolling Stones when they tour; her duets with Mick Jagger are her most notable appearances.

Check out the video for “How Can I Ease the Pain” below. I haven’t stopped listening to it for the past two days:

{name} Author: Shamir Lee
Bio: Shamir Lee is a senior majoring in Advertising. She’s a writer for Penn State’s CRITIQUE, a student-run business magazine. Additionally, she has created ads and flyers for One Heart, an organization fighting against child sexual abuse. She’s interested in looking at cats, doing ballet, exercising, and ending animal cruelty. In her free time, she enjoys watching horror movies, some of her favorites being Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue and the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ("sorry, I just really like the cinematography"). Music is a big part of her life, as she plays piano, a little bit of guitar, and used to play saxophone. Some of her favorite musicians are Jason Becker, BUCK-TICK, Megadeth, Aivi Tran, Missing Persons, Nina Hagen, Prince, and Koji Kondo.


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