Enjoy the Youthful Summer Fever with The Party

It’s June! Summer is almost here! Time to put on that brand-new swimsuit, lather on some suntan lotion, make sure not to forget those all-important beach items and make your way to the nearest beach (or pool if you don’t live by a beach). For me, as a passionate music lover, summer doesn’t start until I put together a mix-tape of cool summer hits to jam to and enjoy the season. The Party’s “Summer Vacation” would be one of those tracks!

The first thing that catches the listener’s attention is the sampled bass line from “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama. That bass line is the real beginning as it serves as the song’s backbone with its intense and defining characteristics. The deep-sounding bass serves as a perfect contrast with the male’s tenor vocals. It’s easy to notice that the bass line is the principal character of this piece. Although, this 12-beat pattern is repeated over and over.

My favorite part has got to be the chorus. The rap verses are slick; the guys lay down the verses coolly and in a typical 90s’ teenager attitude. But the meat of the song is the chorus; the female vocals bring a refreshing yet robust and dance-able flavor to the song. It doesn’t help that the music video features two girls dancing a particular routine to the chorus. It makes me want to get up and dance that same routine. The slick, teenage bad-ass rap verses differ from the rousing chorus, but they both go hand-to-hand as their unique characteristics compliment each other.

I am now an adult working a full-time job with not enough summer vacation time. The lyrics and the summery dance beat of “Summer Vacation” make me wish I was a teenager who is on the cusp of summer vacation; when school is about to be let out for the year and teenagers make the mental (or perhaps, physically as well) dash towards their long three-month vacation. Oh, how I wish, as an adult, I could “get away” and “have fun” for three months!

“Summer Vacation” isn’t my number one favorite The Party song (that honors go to “That’s Why”) but it is a fun song. The youthful vibe and the danceable beat makes me want to break out and dance while enjoying summer in a fun way.

About The Party:

The Party was a group of five teenagers that starred on the show The All New Mickey Mouse Club in the late 80s and early 90s. The members were Albert Fields, Tiffini Hale, Chase Hampton, Deedee Magno Hall, and Damon Pampolina. The group lasted for three years: releasing two original albums, one remix album, and a handful of singles. Their most successful single was “In My Dreams”, released in 1991, a dance cover of the same-titled song by heavy metal band Dokken. Most of the members went onto pursue different fields in the entertainment industry with Deedee Magno Hall being the most recognized name among musical theatre patrons and Steven Universe fans.

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“Wild Women Do” A Natalie Cole Tribute

nataliecole-wildwomendo

It is really sad when a shining star in the music industry dies out, especially a legend like Natalie Cole. I can admit that I have barely listened to anything by her. Maybe because I am not a big fan of the classic jazz type of music that her, her dad, and many others were famous for. I am more of the modern smooth jazz from the 80’s and 90’s.

I discovered a song, called “Wild Women Do”, that she contributed to the blockbuster film Pretty Women while watching the film about a year ago. I recently was able to buy the soundtrack at a local discount store and one the first songs I listened to was Natalie Cole’s. It’s my favorite tune off the soundtrack due to how brash, in a good way, and tough the song’s character is. And, it’s all thanks to how Natalie’s soulful yet aggressive vocal style helps to paint this “tough girl” attitude, something alike to the personality of Julia Roberts’ character in the movie. My favorite line in the whole song is “Well, let me tell you something, little boy” because Cole sings in a cynical style, just like the mannerism of Roberts’ character.

“Wild Women Do” is a perfect blend of R&B, pop, a little soul, and rock with it’s aggressive “I don’t take jack” approach about women who live life on the wild side (or prostitutes). I think I might have to start 2016 off by listening to more of Cole’s works that are like this one. And maybe, someday, I will get to her more profound and earlier works. But right now, I am going to jam to “Wild Women Do” and you should too.

Painting the World “In Living Color”

inlivingcolor

Woah, it’s been a month since I updated this blog! I am soooooooo sorry! Things became busy at work, the weather has been awful lately (and that’s affects my energy levels), and I been binge watching TV shows during my free time.

One of my latest obsessions is the provocative 90s’ American comedy show “In Living Color”. For five years, this sketch comedy show entertained viewers weekly with a diverse cast featuring various members of the Wayans family, Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh, the hip dancing squad The Fly Girls, and other amazing people. Although “In Living Color” was broadcasted when I was an infant, it’s refreshing to see how now-famous stars looked before they got their big break.

The theme song of “In Living Color” is another masterpiece that the program shares. Have you ever listened to a TV theme song and thought “I wish they created a longer version of this” or “I wish there was an album/single version of this somewhere”? That is exactly I feel when I listen to the theme of this show. Playing the one minute and fifty seconds version of the intro doesn’t satisfy my musical taste buds! I need more!

The theme, ironically also called “In Living Color”, is performed by the hip-hop group Heavy D & the Boyz. Formed in the late 1980s, the band was composed of four members; the Jamaican-born rapper Heavy D, the DJ Eddie F, and the two dancers T-Roy and G-Wiz. They released their debut album, entitled “Living Large”, in 1987 with huge success. It has been ranked as one of the top ten rap albums of the 20th century.

The only song that I actually knew from the group, before I discovered “In Living Color”, was their 1991 hit “Now That We Found Love“. I came across the song when I was trying to find if the “In Living Color” theme was available for purchase on iTunes. I didn’t know that Heavy D performed “Now That We Found Love” until that point. Like, I have heard it a million times on the radio when I was young. But, I didn’t make the connect until that point. I honestly thought when I was younger that “Now That We Found Love” was one of those eurodance songs by artists like Real McCoy, Culture Beat, and 2 Unlimited.

However, the hip-hop driven “In Living Color” is completely different from new jack swing “Now That We Found Love”. Yes, “In Living Color” does feature some of the instrumentation found in a new jack swing song; sound effects, probably a Korg M1 keyboard, and a Kawai Drum Machine, However,  “In Living Color” leans more towards hip-hop as the instrumentation is bare and rough, only featuring the bare necessaries of a song. Instead, it features more of Heavy D’s rapping. The key point of the song is how Heavy D makes it more captivating by the way he shapes the phrases with his rhythm. The other key point is the deep male “In Living Color” and female  backing vocals. These parts, even though small, are important as they breathe life and enjoyment to the song.

“In Living Color” is a rejuvenating theme song from a hip-hop great that will sure enough bring back memories for many readers. Like the musical side of the song, pay attention to the lyrics with the video below. I feel like Heavy D presents a critical message, even though it’s a TV theme song. However, like the song, “In Living Color” was a show about breaking barriers (including the color one) through it’s entertaining and sincere sketches. I take the song’s message to heart as I feel it is very important in the world we live in. Especially at the verses:

“And how would you feel knowing predjudice was obsolete,
and all mankind danced to the ‘xact beat,
and at night it was safe to walk down the street?
(In Living Color)”

“Everybody here is equally kind
(In Living Color)
What’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine.
(In Living Color)
And how would you feel knowing everybody was your friend
From thin to thick, and through thick and thin
and egotistical trips were put to an end?”

What was your favorite “In Living Color” sketch? I like many however I think Jim Carrey’s parody of Snow’s “Informer” was one of the best sketches. Jim Carrey is a brilliant comedian who can carry a heck of a tune. He should of had a singing career! Don’t miss out of his Popeye impression too.

The Underground Solution’s “Luv Dancin'”

The Underground Solution-Luv Dancin

Hey, Happy August! I hope you are enjoying the month so far even though it’s super hot. I been enjoying it with a week-long vacation. I been super-lucky and was able to catch up on sleep and cleaning.

Today’s blog entry is bought to you by my eccentric music collection. Doesn’t everyone has an unusual piece in their collection? Something that is odd but wonderful at the same time. What is odder, this piece was just a random find that you haven’t seen//heard of before but just picked it up because you want to try to understand it?

That is what today’s song is all about!

There isn’t a lot of information out there about The Underground Solution. The only thing I can find is that it was an alias for then-newcomer Rodger Sanchez, who is now an award-winning DJ. Many fans label “Luv Dancin'” as his debut single even though his official site says differently. Whatever the case maybe, “Luv Dancin'” was done by someone and was one of the first releases on the dance record label Strictly Rhythm. According to dmp on the international music catalog site Discogs, this dance bear features samples of three songs:  “Exodus – Together Forever” (1982), “Carl Bean – I Was Born This Way” (1977), and “Loose Joints – Is It All Over My Face”.

“Luv Dancin'” is one of those perfect club songs as it has two distinct personalities. It carries a day side where it’s a bouncy tune with a down beat detailed by deep bass synthesizers and quick, clamorous vocals. But, it also has a night side where the airy electronic keyboards and a flute-like instrument helps to create an ambient, cool atmosphere.

Speaking of instruments, I am very surprise how “modern” this song sounds. My image of dance songs in 1990 is Madonna’s “Vogue” or some eurodance stuff that features sounds only heard in the early 90s. But,  “Luv Dancin'” is different as Rodger Sanchez works the samples in a way that wouldn’t have the listeners try to pinpoint a certain decade for the song. It sounds so fresh that you could play it in today’s club scene and some people might even think it was made in 2015.

When I randomly picked up this single from a second-hand store, I had no clue who produced it or what did it sound like. However, I knew that I wanted to give the record a chance. And by giving it that chance, I was able to enjoy the song with its soothing summer night atmosphere.

Maybe it will be your summer dance jam for 2015 too?

Babylon Daiou – Erogappa

Artist: Babylon Daiou (バビロン大王)

 

Single Title:エロガッパ (Erogappa)

Date Released: December 21st, 1990

Catalog Code: FHDF-1069

Label: Fun House

Genre: Japanese Rock

Tracklist:

1. エロガッパ (Erogappa)

2. ズンドコ1990 (Zundoko 1990)

Single Info

About/Review

Babylon Daiou was a popish rock group that was in early 1990s with Megumi Hakata (it’s a guy, not a girl) as the lead singer and guitarist. If anyone is a major Kome Kome Club fan, one would recognize that Megumi was the guitarist for the band when it first started (in 1987) and only lasted for a year.

The single is another excellent single but kinda funky/weird due to the lyrics and the music. The a-side, Erogappa, reflects that with the weird lyrics (with each line in each verse starting with a random letter of A, O, B, or D). While, my favorite track of is the b-side, Zundoko 1990, is a bit strange but features a lot of awesome vocals, guitar riffs, and keyboard solos. I swear I could hear the famous singer and voice actress Minami Takayama in the dialogue bits during the chorus of Zun Zuns.  In conclusion, this single is a bit weird and funky but nevertheless a great single.