The name Shareese Renee Ballard might not be a household name. However, for some, the name “Res” might generate more recognition. In 2001 Res released her debut album, “How I Do.” The single “Let Love” is from that album. It is an example of a postmodern cool that is not often heard.
Hearing “Let Love” for the first time
The year was 2001. I was in a woman’s boutique waiting for a friend to finish shopping. As my friend ducked into a changing stall again, I mentally compiled my complaint and had a seat on a highbacked upholstered chair. Through the public address system, a song came on. A song whose sheer uniqueness and quiet strength made me forget I was on the verge of annoyance.
The gentle lyrics and what I might have described as “synth-pop soul” if pressed at the time, overwhelmed me. I made up my mind to find this song again. In the intervening years, I searched. I used the Internet, I asked people who knew a thing or two about recorded music. Nothing. However, I refused to give up. Sixteen years later, I found my answer.
Part of the difficulties in finding Res and “Let Love” is that I didn’t know the song’s title. Neither did the employees of the boutique. So I took what I could readily remember of the lyrics “…when the sun runs out…” and naively took that to be the title. I was wrong. Thankfully, with the passage of time came my access to Google and YouTube, and when I typed in song lyrics that I initially remembered, and ones that came to me later, I found “Let Love.” Only 16 years late, but I’m not complaining.
Res, “Let Love” and the nagging question of what genre belongs to whom
From time to time, I mention singers who sing outside a “predictable” genre. Jimi Hendrix is one example. It would seem that in the 21st century when it is possible for people of various demographics to listen to different types of music, that it wouldn’t be a concern for performers to delve into genres not associated with their race.
Because Res seems to use a synth-pop basis for “Let Love,” with rhythmic bass and her delivery giving the song its soul-influenced flair, I think she might have been difficult to categorize for some industry representatives. That’s one theory. The other theory, which is tied to the first, is that in my little corner of flyover country, films and music that do not fit into a neat box are not promoted. I should have heard this song on both alternative radio and my city’s one urban station at the time. I didn’t.
“Let Love” and success for Res
Despite people in my area being deprived of Res, “How I Do” still managed to make the Billboard 200. It was a pleasant surprise to find that Res continues to work and record. She has three albums and one EP to her credit, all recorded between 2001 and 2017, with eight years between the first two.
In addition to her own work, Res has worked as a support vocalist for CeeLo Green on the song “Crazy,” on his “St. Elsewhere Tour.”
According to the singer’s Facebook page, Res’ influences are an eclectic mix of artists: Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, NWA, John Mayer and others.
Still, “Let Love” remains one of those songs whose cumulative beauty takes listeners by surprise. The various elements- – synth, soul, and pop are presented in unexpected ways. And it takes several listens to begin to understand what has happened. The entire song is smooth and mid-tempo, and perfect for a gathering of discerning friends, or alone. It tells the story of faith and love, and makes audiences think without being didactic. “Let Love” is a musical triumph.