There are many things I could criticize BET for. Quite frankly, the network that created the lane for Black programming on television has been lapped by Centric and TVOne. Even their annual award show tends to be an exercise in general coonery with a handful of moments that makes the ceremony almost worth watching. This year’s show was no different. Thankfully, BET made up for Chris Brown’s crocodile tears by featuring El DeBarge in two separate segments. El has not released an album of new material since 1994, having spent much of that time dealing with personal issues and drug problems (and most recently, incarceration). However, his performances on the award show proved that his years on the sidelines have not cramped his vocal ability or his ability to tell a story in a song.

Well, those of us who have hungered for new DeBarge material finally have it in the form of “Second Chance”, the first single from his new album, out this fall. El briefly previewed the track during his second performance on the BET awards, and it turns out to be a beautiful piano ballad on which El alludes to some of his missteps and asks for forgiveness. Chris Brown would be wise to go this route, but it’s probably safe to say he doesn’t have a tenth of the talent El has. It’s contemporary without being trendy (thank God) and it’s a classy reintroduction to one of pop and soul music’s most enduring and underappreciated talents.

Check the song out on El’s website, and check out some classic El goodness below.

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