First Hit #1: January 24, 1976
This is a film theme, and it is very clear that it’s meant to be part of a film. There’s some obligatory film bombast, as though it was composed in full knowledge that it was going to be competing with some images. So, orchestra and Diana Ross, the song will never be outdone!
But it’s actually the parts between the bombast that stick out the most. Ross’ vocal can get extremely delicate, and the arrangement becomes almost minimalist in approach. It’s a contrast to the big orchestra hits, but it also gives the song a sense of intimacy in those quiet stretches. I haven’t seen Mahogany, but it sounds almost as though the song is torn between humanizing Ross’ character and reveling in her triumph, which can sometimes lead to a schizophrenic sound. A good movie theme should give you an idea of what the movie is actually like. I get the impression that Mahogany is a mix of quiet brilliance and big moments that undermine it.