Irons In The Fire is where we really start to hear the ‘Teena Marie’ sound that’s prevalent in so many of her ballads: that ‘sound’ being alternating themes (usually a time or chord change) with an A B A or A B A B structure. The ‘A’ section is traditionally the ‘standard’ R&B sound, with the ‘B’ component introducing a jazz, rock, Latin, or Broadway theme.
Teena previously stated that Irons In The Fire was her favorite album; that makes sense, given that Irons… was the first album that she produced by herself. She also penned all the songs on the album (with the exception of “Tune In Tomorrow”, which she co-wrote with Mickey Hearn). Her hard work shows: Irons In The Fire was easily her strongest album to date, with jams like “Young Love”, “I Need Your Lovin’”, and the smoking “You Make Love Like Springtime”.
However, those tracks can’t hold a candle to the previously-mentioned “Tune In Tomorrow”. Teena captures her audience right from the start, with an almost incomprehensible “wow” before sauntering into her first verse:
What do we do now, honey
Now that we know how to love
Shall we start again remembering Now that we’ve played the game
Now that we’ve changed the name
Tune in tomorrow
She even throws a dissonance in the second verse, before flipping the song from its original 6/4 time to a swinging 3/4 beat. She follows this pattern once again, before staying on the ‘B’ section. This is where she absolutely KILLS it, effortlessly scatting with the dueling guitar and piano accompaniments as the song transitions into the reprise of “You Make Love Like Springtime”.