Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cheryl Lynn - Preppie

Tomorrow (November 4th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Preppie, the fifth studio album from R&B singer Cheryl Lynn. This record peaked at number 161 on the US Billboard Album chart and number 8 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

Side one opens with “Encore”, which was written by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. As the first single, it went to number 69 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 68 in the UK, number 6 on the US Billboard Dance chart and number 1 on the US Billboard R&B chart. Giving the impression that it was recorded live, it features a pounding dance beat that is signature of the Minneapolis sound. The lyrics so highly praise a lover's abilities that they demand a repeat performance.

The lyrics of “Fix It”, about a woman in need of satisfaction, carry some very thinly veiled sexual references. It is bvious what "a crack in the wall" and "a leak in the hall" are referring to. The funky bass hook really pulls you in too.

“Fool a Fool” lulls you in with a smooth saxophone solo. Then Lynn lowers the boom on her man for cheating on her, she does it with such calm and class that he likely never saw it coming.

Things slow down with “This Time”, a ballad about a couple moving away from mistakes in the past and on to a better future together. As the third single, it went to number 49 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

“Change the Channel” follows, appropriately the B-side to the third single. It is all about spicing things up in a relationship, including a bit of role-playing in the bedroom, to dispel any creeping in boredom.

Side two kicks off with the title track “Preppie”. With an instrumental B-side, this second single peaked at number 85 on the US Billboard R&B chart. It taps into the movement of the Northeastern prep-school inspired fashion that was popular in the early 80's. These included class retro looks that included argyle sweaters, button down Oxford shirts, chinos and loafers. I remember it having a big influence in my high school and college years at the time, though I never really was a prep per se. This song, infused with a new-wave grinding rhythm, plays up an alluring sexy side to guys who dressed that way. I also like the arcade video game reference at the 1:30 mark.

“Love Rush” keeps the party going with a mid-tempo danceable tune about orgasmic lust at first sight late one night at a crowded club.

"No One Else Will Do" slows things down again with a ballad about complete and utter devotion to another. Lynn really hits those emotional points on that amazing feeling which is truly rare in one's lifetime.

“Free”, the B-side to first single, makes a proud, anthem for independence - with no need to be tied down to one person.

“Life’s Too Short” keeps the confident attitude going, pointing out that one has to take their own life by the reins and not be held back by others.

This was my first exposure to Preppie, and I absolutely loved it. Lynn demonstrates that she had her finger on the pulse of music trends and was able to adapt her own style to take in elements of them as well. The end result is a slamming R&B album with great dance grooves and beautiful ballads. While it did eventually come out on CD, the distribution is pretty limited. Combine it with the quality of the music and you get a rare, highly sought after record that commands top dollar on the resale markets. Hopefully we will see this one in a more affordable digital format soon; it deserves to be heard by all new audiences and old time fans (like me) alike.

For 1978’s self-titled debut Cheryl Lynn, click here.

For 1982’s Instant Love, click here.

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