Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cameo - She’s Strange

Today (January 16th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of She’s Strange, the tenth studio album from Cameo. In 1984, it spent twenty-four weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 27. It also spent thirty-two weeks on the US Billboard R&B chart and reached the number 1 spot. Singer/actress/model Vanity once again appeared on the album cover (she also appeared on the cover of the band’s 1982 album Alligator Woman).

Side one starts with the title track “She’s Strange”. A shortened version of the seven plus minute album track was released as the first single; it hit number 47 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 (for four weeks) on the US Billboard R&B chart. After an extended instrumental opening, the rapid-rap verse starts about a very alluring woman.

"Love You Anyway" shifts things down to a slow, jazzy groove.

The second single “Talkin’ Out the Side of Your Neck” reached number 21 on the US Billboard R&B chart. It makes a political commentary with a heavy, funky stomping rhythm.

“Tribute to Bob Marley” was the B-side to the first single. It fuses reggae and funk in a song to honor the Jamaican musician who passed away in 1981 and the legacy he left behind.

Side two begins with “Groove With You”. This one sticks with the standard R&B dance rhythm that was popular at the time.

Things slow down once more with the R&B ballad "Hangin' Downtown". It tells of a man who wanders the night with only his broken heart as company. The saxophone solo fits perfectly to the mood of this slow-jam. As the third single, it peaked at number 45 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

"Leve-Toi!" (French for "stand up") closes out the record on a high-energy, up-beat note.

I had not heard this album back in the day, but I definitely found it enjoyable. On She's Strange, the guys from Cameo stretch their sound to touch upon a variety of genres and do so successfully. I like that each song has a different vibe to it, keeping the record fresh and interesting from start to finish. This is one that is on my buy-soon list.

For 1982’s Alligator Woman, click here.

For 1983’s Style, click here.

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