Thursday, May 21, 2015

Rick James - Glow

Today (May 21st) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Glow, the eighth studio album from Rick James. This one went to number 50 on the US Billboard Album chart (with a total chart run of twenty-six weeks) and number 1 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

Side one starts with "Can't Stop". As the lead single, it reached number 50 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 10 on the US Billboard R&B chart, and number 9 on the US Billboard Dance chart. If the back-beat sounds awful close to “Party All the Time” by Eddie Murphy, which hit the charts in the fall of 1985, that is because James was behind that tune as well. Glad he could find some re-use. I think the two would mix really well together at the hands of a skilled deejay; I can certainly hear how they would go together. And do my old ears deceive me or does one of the guitar licks James throws down sound quite a bit, to me, like KISS’ 1979 smash rocker “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”.

The third single "Spend the Night with Me" tuckered out at number 41 on the US Billboard R&B chart. This mid-tempo dance groove tells of an encounter with a stranger that leads to an instant connection and a night of passion. I really like the sax here that is provided by Daniel LeMelle.

"Melody Make Me Dance" is next. The song has a different vibe to it, in part because of the heavier keyboard and synth elements to it. It is a bold experiment that works pretty good in my book.

"Somebody (The Girl's Got)" is a typical James praising of a pretty young thing. He incorporates the use of a vocoder on parts of the chorus.

Side two opens with the title track "Glow", a celebration of a woman’s beauty. Released as the second single, it stalled at number 106 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 80 in the UK, yet it raced all the way to number 5 on the US Billboard R&B chart and number 1 on the US Billboard Dance chart.

The rhythm slows down a bit with the swaying "Moonchild".

Things continue down the slower path with "Sha La La La La (Come Back Home)". Again, LeMelle’s sax leaves a lasting impression.

James finally kicks back in on the beat and the bass with "Rock and Roll Control".

The album closes with a brief, two minute "Glow (Reprise)" that gets a bit inspirational near the end.

As a Rick James fan, Glow was one of his albums that did not catch my ears back in the day. I liked what I heard on this first play through of the record, enough to come back for another helping someday soon. It is certainly different from most of his earlier album offerings.

For more from Rick James, click here.

1 comment:

HERC said...

At the time in 1985, this felt like Rick's lame attempt to sound like Prince though I always felt like Prince incorporated a bit of James swag funk in his earlier work. It was too different from his previous work to merit anything but the tiniest bit of my attention back then. Never bought the album but the fact that it is available on Spotify means I'll give it another shot solely based on your review.