Monthly Archives: September 2009

Listening Room # 6 – Tina Turner – Break Every Rule

Tina Turner – Break Every Rule (1986) on Capital

Tina Turner - Break Every Rule - FrontWow, this is one album with an all star musician list! Tina Turner, obviously, is the Queen of “Don’t mess with me, or I’ll write a song about it and make a million from it.” I have always loved her voice. Raspy, cool, defiant. In fact, I seem to be drawn to female singers with a lower range, and male singers with a higher range. Go figure. But on this one, like her pervious hit release “Private Dancer” Tina delivers all the 80s pop rock you can handle. Plus, the best feathered hair ever! She knows how to sing with spunk, spark, and passion, and I like that. She knows how to handle herself and at this point, the biz as well.

Two guest musicians and a guest writer make this album even sweeter than it already is. Bryan Adams did the guitar work, Phil Collins did the drums, and David Bowie wrote the song “Girls” for the release. Awesome. You can feel the more rock influences on this one. The guitars are have the 80s reverb+distortion sound perfected, and there is a nice intermixing of auxiliary percussion. Plus, I love 80s bass. I think it has the best overall tone, mix and style of the decades and genres I listen to.

Great album. Amazing singer. Awesome instrumentalists. Best legs in heels ever. It’s a combination to win.

Youtube…rock me:

Listening Room # 5 – Sade – Diamond Life

Sade – Diamond Life (1985) on CBS/Portrait Records

Sade - Diamond LifeContinuing with the saxophone solos I heard on the previous Motels post, Sade (Shah-Day)seemed like a nice way to show how one instrument can work so magically with two different music genres. Here on Sade’s debut album, one cannot help chill out to the smooth bass and sultry saxophone on the record. “Smooth Operator” the album’s first track, is perhaps one Sade’s best know works, but this album is full of sensible tunes for anyone on a quiet, stormy November evening. 

“Hang on to Your Love” I think is the best track by far. It reminds me of “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson with its walking bass, and clean studio guitar work.  The closing track “Why Can’t We Live Together” is also notable as a perfect R&B groove. I don’t know what it is about her vocal style, but I can’t get enough of it. It has a richness and resonance that I just can’t quite describe. Something about it sounds like it has sung these songs in a past life somehow, with a fullness of experience to draw upon. Plus who doesn’t love tons of auxiliary percussion in their tunes. Congas, bongos and maracas…nice.

Overall, as if I don’t like an album I post on here, I love this one. Another gem to have, especially if you want to broaden your musical styles, this is a good way to get into the smooth jazz or quiet storm genres. For sure, it’s late night listening mood music!

  • Side A
    • Smooth Operator
    • Your Love Is King
    • Hang on to Your Love
    • Frankie’s First Affair
    • When Am I Going to Make a Living
  • Side B
    • Cherry Pie
    • Sally
    • I Will Be Your Friend
    • Why Can’t We Live Together

And youtube:

Listening Room # 4 – The Motels – All For One

The Motels – All For One (1982) on Capital

The Motels - All For One - FrontKnown for a few hits in the 80s, like “Only The Lonely” and “Suddenly, Last Summer” but probably not known for being a tight, solid, new wave band. The Motels had 5 albums in the 80s, combining the best elements of rock with new wave flair and a respectable dose of distortion. You can easily bob your head up and down to “Take the L” ….out of love and it’s oooooover…

Martha Davis on vocals combines a kinda of crooning, mixed with powerful mid-range. You really get this feel on “Change My Mind.” The guitars are light on overdrive and great on chorus. A lot of people don’t know that Martha also The Motels - All For One - Backplayed guitar as well. Which, ok, as you know rocks. The bass bumps, and the drums have kick and sparkle.

From a mixing standpoint this album is just so perfect. Everything is balanced, and sounds great on vinyl. Especially the bass. And who doesn’t love an 80s saxophone solo? The topic matter is a little melancholy, but the songs sound much more upbeat. Especially “He Hit Me.” Gosh, talk about a song about the cycle of abuse and how women rationalize it. Hence, the “new wave” I guess.

It is just a fun rock album, that I am not sure where would be best to listen to. It could be good album to unwind to, or driving home from work.

  • Side A
    • Mission of Mercy
    • Take the L
    • Only the Lonely
    • Art Fails
    • Change My Mind
  • Side B
    • So L.A.
    • Tragic Surf
    • Apocalypso
    • He Hit Me (and It Felt Like a Kiss)
    • Forever Mine

And youtube. Gosh, I love 80s make-up.

Listening Room # 3 – Alisha – Alisha (Self-Titled)

Alisha – Alisha (1985) on Vanguard

alisha-alishaIf you didn’t know it, you may mistake this teen hot shot from the 80s for Madonna. But her debut dance-pop album has her own unique, Brooklyn attitude, and easily danceable tunes to it. You can especially tell it on one of the highlight tracks “Baby Talk” with its bouncy echo, and annuciation of “tawlk.” This actually is my second spin of this album and I like it more and more. The original and remix version of “All Night Passion” screams 1985 with some DJ scratches, snappy snare samples, and a breakdown to put Lady alisha-alisha-backGaga to shame.  I also like “Stargazing”  especially the build in the vocals on the chorus. This album has classic synth-chord action. The album feels short time wise, but I would be proud to spin this one the next time I have a party. Even if the party is in my mind.

It’s great to hear a clean, 80s vocal without the aid of auto-tune. It seems a lot of artists are mimicking the 80s sound currently, yet, killing anything awesome about a song by using it. I’ll write a whole post on what I think of auto-tune later. One word though: Really?

  • Side A
    • All Night Passion
    • Stargazing
    • Baby Talk
  • Side B
    • Too Turned On
    • Boys Will Be Boys
    • One Little Lie
    • All Night Passion (Special Album Remix)

And of course, the youtube: (Note: check out the conga player with the sorta mohawk…nice)

%d bloggers like this: