Saturday, October 26, 2013

Melissa Manchester - Emergency

This week (October 27th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Emergency, the eleventh studio album from singer/songwriter Melissa Manchester. After an earlier solid showing with a greatest hits collection earlier in 1983, this one stopped its climb on the US Billboard Album chart at number 135.

Joining Manchester on the album were Michael Boddicker (synthesizer), Robbie Buchanan (keyboards, piano), Nathan East (bass), Dan Huff (guitar), Dean Parks (guitar), Carlos Vega (drums) and a long list of backing vocalists.

Side one opens with “I Don’t Care What the People Say”. The up-tempo synth bounces carefree from speaker to speaker.

Next up is “No One Can Love You More Than Me”. As the first single, it hit number 75 in Australia, number 78 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 34 on the US Adult Contemporary chart. The opening riff reminds me a bit of “Major Tom Coming Home” by Peter Schilling.

The up-beat, danceable “City Nights” has a very strong early 80’s Euro-pop sound.

“Stop Another Heart Breakin’” has a sweet swing to it.

The title track “Emergency” tells the story of a runaway named Rosy who finds herself in deep trouble in the big city.

Side two begins with the “End of the Affair”. Here, Manchester advises a guy to give up his extracurricular loving and tell his true love he misses her.

The ricocheting synths are back on “That Boy”, a tale of a mysterious stranger and the girl who has faith in him.

“White Rose” was chosen for the B-side to the first single. This is the first track that goes for a simple piano accompaniment, a sound that Manchester was known for in the late 70’s. It really helps to showcase her powerful vocal ability which could get a little lost behind all the synth elements of the earlier parts of the album.

“Johnny and Mary” tells the tale of a couple; he is a dream chaser and she is a supportive partner.

The ballad “Time” closes out the record.

This review was my first time listening to Emergency. As someone who likes earlier records by Melissa Manchester, I liked this one well enough. Clearly, she and her label were trying to swing her sound more in line with what was on the charts at the time. Unfortunately, that did not translate into blockbuster sales like her earlier work. Maybe it was a little too much of a change for her older fans? Hard to say.

Here are a few more of my Melissa Manchester album reviews:

- For 1979’s self-titled Melissa Manchester, click here.

- For 1982’s Hey Ricky, click here.

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