Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Pointer Sisters - Break Out

Today (November 6th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Break Out, the tenth studio album from Anita, June and Ruth - the Pointer Sisters. This record, a multi-platinum seller, turned out to be their biggest seller to data. It also won the group two Grammy Awards and two American Music Awards. Chart-wise, it hit number 27 in Sweden, number 17 in Australia, number 15 in the Netherlands, number 9 in the UK, number 8 on the US Billboard Album chart, number 6 in New Zealand and on the US Billboard R&B chart, and number 4 in Canada.

As always, I will be focusing on the original vinyl release. Note that on the 1984 re-release a number of tracks were shifted around and one track (“Nightline”) was pulled to drop in a remix of “I’m So Excited” from the previous album So Excited! (click here for that review).

Side one begins with pounding drums and the pulsing synths of “Jump (for My Love)”. As the third single, it number 20 in Germany, number 13 in Switzerland, number 11 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, number 9 in the Netherlands, number 8 in Australia and Canada, number 4 in Belgium, number 3 in New Zealand and in the US (the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts) and number 2 in Ireland.

The second single “Automatic” hit the charts hard. It went to 36 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, number 17 in Canada, number 15 in Australia, number 9 in the Netherlands, number 8 in Sweden, number 5 in Belgium and on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 2 on the US R&B and Dance charts, and number 1 in Ireland. I like the way the rhythm twists and winds on this one, like a seductive serpent embracing you in its party mood.

“Baby, Come and Get It”, the fifth and final single, peaked at number 76 in the UK, number 45 in Canada, number 44 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 29 in Australia, number 24 on the US Billboard R&B chart and number 8 on the US Dance chart. The funky bass grind is perfect for this spicy song.

The tempo slows a bit to a mellower, mid-speed one for the next track. “I Need You”, the first single, went to number 48 on the US Billboard Album chart, number 25 in the UK, number 15 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, number 13 on the US R&B chart, number 12 in Germany, and number 2 in Australia.

“Dance Electric”, with its electronic elements in the spotlight, showed up in 1984 as the B-side to the remix of “I’m So Excited”.

Side two explodes with “Neutron Dance”. Released as the fourth single and fueled by the 1984 film Beverly Hills Cop, it went to number 31 in the UK, number 26 in Belgium, number 21 in the Netherlands, number 19 in Austria, number 17 in New Zealand, number 14 in Switzerland, number 13 on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 7 in Sweden, number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 4 in Australia, and number 1 in Canada. As I have mentioned before, I really love this song. With its driving beat and powerful saxophone, it still remains a go-to dance favorite of mine even thirty years later.

After the workout that has come before, “Easy Persuasion” slows things down with a beautiful ballad.

“Nightline” was originally written for and recorded by Michael Jackson but was never released. The Pointer Sisters then picked it up and even used for the B-side to the second single.

“Telegraph Your Love”, the B-side to the fourth single, is all about communicating feelings and emotions with the one you care about.

The closing track “Operator” was selected as the B-side to the first and fifth single. It ties everything up with another party track, this time about a big time playboy.

I owned a copy of Break Out on vinyl and played it a ton over my college years, especially when I was getting ready for a night out dancing. The whole record is infused with an undeniable groove and the lovely sisterly harmonies, a perfect combo for the time period for R&B fans like me. It continues to remain a favorite of mine as it reminds me of so many good times from my college years.


HERC said...

Have to say that the 2CD 2011 remaster on Big Break Records is worth every penny. They actually took a great album and made it even better.

Disc One is the 1984 reissue you mentioned; the one with "I'm So Excited" and the disc is filled out with 8 alternate mixes, single edits, remixes and an instrumental.

Disc Two is the original 1983 version you reviewed (on CD for the first time ever) and an additional six remixes.

It is an all inclusive CD set after HERC's own compilation loving heart. Highly recommended.

"Automatic" is the sleeper track on the album.

Martin Maenza said...

A double-disk CD set? I may need to keep my eyes out for that one. I bet the remixes are amazing.