Monday, July 8, 2013

Stacy Lattisaw - Sixteen

This week (July 9th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Sixteen, the fifth studio album from R&B singer Stacy Lattisaw. It charted at number 160 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 26 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

Backing up the sixteen year old teenager on this one were the album’s producer Narada Michael Walden (drums, keyboards and percussion), Randy Jackson (bass), David Sancious (keyboards and synthesizer), Corrado Rustici (guitar), Preston Glass (percussion and backing vocals), and Marc Russo (saxophone).

Side one starts with ultra-funky 16 on which Lattisaw announces that she has come of age and is ready to face the world with a new attitude. The opening of this dance jam reminds me of tunes from Rick James and Prince at the time. It is a solid opening track that kicks off the album in just the right way.

The B-side to the first single was “Black Pumps and Pink Lipstick”. The song is about getting all dolled up and ready for a fun evening out.

Things slow down with the sweet, sentimental ballad “I’ve Loved You Somewhere Before”. Lattisaw really shows her vocal range and controlled power on this slow dance favorite.

“Million Dollar Babe”, the second single, bounced up to number 52 on the US Billboard R&B chart. It really captures that youthful romantic fantasy, complete with a heart-beat pumping drum beat.

Side two opens with “What’s So Hot ‘Bout Bad Boys” and also features Kathy Sledge on the vocals. The song challenges the strong allure of guys who girls know are trouble; Lattisaw shows that she sees right through all that smoke and mirrors. The only thing that really dates this song is when Lattisaw and Sledge have a bit of back-and-forth discussion and pepper it with “Valley-speak”.

The slower tempo “Johey!” is about a boy getting ready to leave town for good and the girl who will be heartbroken when he goes.

“The Ways of Love” was the B-side to the second single. It like the Latin flavor of the percussion at the start of this intimate overture. Lattisaw states that she is now a woman and pleads with her boyfriend to take her all the way.

“Miracles”, the closing track, was also the debut single; it went to number 40 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 13 on the US Billboard R&B chart. Lattisaw knocks this beautiful ballad out of the park as it builds from start to finish.

I definitely enjoyed Sixteen. If you have read my earlier reviews (links below), you know I am a fan of Stacy Lattisaw’s music. It has the perfect pop/R&B/dance blend that was a huge staple of my 80’s music listening diet. I really like that a number of the songs here run more than five minutes, giving the band time to work out a great groove.

For my other reviews of Stacy Lattisaw’s albums, check out the links below:

- For 1980’s Let Me Be Your Angel, click here.

- For 1986’s Take Me All the Way, click here.

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