Tony! Toni! Toné!'s Feel Good Revival

R&B/soul trio brings a positive prescription in this week's Forgotten Videos
  • Raphael Saadiq in "Feels Good"
August 31, 2011 -- 1:29 pm PDT

Welcome to Forgotten Videos. For some, these videos are forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Whichever category you fall into, each week we'll feature a video that's possibly been collecting dust when what it really deserves is a fresh look. Or vice-versa…. We're not here to judge, we just want to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Yep, you'll remember when hair was really that big, when drums were that up front in the mix, when video was young(er) and so were you.

Tony! Toni! Toné!
"Feels Good"

Is Tony! Toni! Toné! a proposition for Raphael Saadiq similar to Justin Timberlake and 'N Sync? Given both artists' successful solo pursuits, and the latter's foray into acting, is it safe to say they have sought a comfortable distance from the bands that propelled them toward the spotlight? Only they can say, but a look at "Feels Good" — the 1990 video featuring Saadiq and his bandmates, brother D'Wayne Wiggins and cousin Timothy Christian Riley — offers plenty of clues for the former.

Far from the vintage R&B and soul sounds that mark recent Saadiq solo albums such as The Way I See It and Stone Rollin', "Feels Good" feels very much rooted in its own massively shoulder-padded era. Here we see frontman Saadiq hopping around stage in pink pants and a satiny newsboy cap, his mustard-colored oversized jacket swinging to the frenetic beat with him (or around him, actually).

While maturity and thoughtful production are two qualities associated with Saadiq's music today, "Feels Good" features DJ scratches, carnival-like melodies and a mechanized drum-machine beat. The video does feel good, however, due in part to the lively, if questionable, scenery. Twice during the video, a wild-haired female dancer in a skimpy costume shimmies and thrusts her hips to the beat, no doubt feeling good all the while. But within seconds each dancer is muscled off the stage by a tag team of more respectably coiffed long-legged ladies in dark glasses. Why? And why are those same security-type ladies patrolling the stage, hands authoritatively on hips, in the first place?

There may be more questions than answers here — this was 1990 after all, and Andrew Dice Clay, Vanilla Ice and Milli Vanilli were lodged firmly in the collective consciousness.

Regardless, for all the mysteries it leaves behind, there is no question that "Feels Good" was an enormous and enjoyable hit. Tony! Toni! Toné! emerged from Oakland, Calif., in 1987, releasing their debut album, Who?, a year later. Their sophomore effort, 1990's The Revival, ended up mining platinum on the strength of "Feels Good," one of three Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits for the trio. Following 1993's Sons Of Soul, in 1996 Tony! Toni! Toné! released their final album, House Of Music. Saadiq has since released four solo albums, garnered a GRAMMY and teamed with Mick Jagger for a noteworthy GRAMMY performance in February.

However Saadiq feels about "Feels Good" today, he should know that at least one element of the song seems directly traceable to him. Could anyone else have come up with the provocative "uh-uh baby" that punctuates the chorus? We can only speculate about this, and whether Tony! Toni! Toné! will ever feel good enough for a reunion.

Do you feel good? Got any Forgotten Video recommendations? Leave us a comment.

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