Friday, April 18, 2014

Jermaine Jackson - Jermaine Jackson/Dynamite

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Jermaine Jackson, the tenth self-titled solo album from the R&B singer. In the international markets, it was released under the title of Dynamite. The album went to number 57 in the UK, number 38 in New Zealand, number 27 in Sweden and number 21 in the Netherlands. Here in the US, it spent forty-nine weeks on the Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 19, and also went to number 13 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

Side one explodes with the six minute version of the hit "Dynamite". As the second single, it went to number 46 in France, number 18 in New Zealand, number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 8 on the US Billboard R&B chart. Charged by synths and driven by a great beat, this one was a huge dance floor favorite back in the day.

The first single "Sweetest Sweetest" went to number 52 in the UK, number 20 in the Netherlands, number 18 in New Zealand and number 9 in Belgium. I can pick up a bit of a Caribbean influence in the rhythm of this one.

"Tell Me I'm Not Dreamin'", a duet with brother Michael Jackson, was the B-side of the third single. If you would have asked me, I would have sworn to you that this was an A-side single as I heard it everywhere back in 1984. From campus parties to the clubs, all the record spinners clearly mined this gem for all it was worth. I can fondly remember the dance floors filling up whenever this one came on. Clearly everyone was still riding high on the Thriller wave so anything that featured Michael on it was a big crowd pleaser.

"Escape the Planet of the Ant Men" features brothers Tito and Randy Jackson. My first thought was that this one has a very odd title, as if it were from a B-movie. Turns out, I was not far off the mark. This fun dance song has a very sci-fi vibe to it.

Side two begins with the mid-tempo groove "Come To Me (One Way or Another)".

The ballad "Do What You Do", the third single, hit number 40 in Germany, number 14 on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 12 in France, number 6 in Ireland and the UK, number 4 in the Netherlands, and number 1 in Belgium. With its gentle swaying rhythm, it slipped comfortably into the slow dance rotation back in 1984.

"Take Good Care of My Heart", a duet with a then relatively unknown Whitney Houston, is next. The mid-tempo love song was the B-side to the second single, and it would also appear on her debut album a year later.

The groove returns again with "Some Things Are Private", a song about the importance of keeping certain information out of the public spotlight.

The heartfelt ballad "Oh Mother", a thank you from a son to his mother, closes the original vinyl release.

A later re-release of the album added an additional track to the second side. "When the Rain Begins to Fall" is a duet with Pia Zadora and was recorded for the soundtrack of Voyage of the Rock Aliens, a movie in which both had parts.

I am very much a fan of the Jermaine Jackson album. It features the kind of dance music I was totally into back in my college days. Needless to say, I have added it to my digital music library already.

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