Monday, August 24, 2015

Miami Sound Machine - Primitive Love

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Primitive Love, the multi-Platinum selling second English-language album and ninth overall from the Miami Sound Machine. It hit number 41 in Sweden, number 30 in the Netherlands, number 23 on the US Billboard Album chart (with seventy-five weeks total on that chart) and number 1 on the US Billboard Latin chart.

Side one begins with "Body to Body", a dance floor bump-and-grind about, well, the bump-and-grind. It packs a lot of heat and an abundance of beats.

The title track "Primitive Love" is next. With a tribal rhythm, it keeps the dance party pumping. I have always liked the layers of percussion that the MSM laid down, and this one is a solid example of that.

The beautiful ballad "Words Get in the Way" was released in early 1986 as the third single. It floated its way to number 22 in Australia, number 17 in the Netherlands and on the US Billboard Latin chart, number 8 in Canada, number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. This was another slow dance favorite back in the day - perfect for that back and forth sway with someone special.

The second single "Bad Boy" was good enough to reach number 74 on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 55 in Australia, number 33 in France, number 23 in Ireland, number 16 in the UK, number 10 in Canada and on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 9 in Switzerland, number 8 in Austria and on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts, number 6 in Germany, and number 2 in the Netherlands. It was also featured in the opening scene of the 1987 movie Three Men and a Baby which starred Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, and Tom Selleck. The bouncy beat of this one really puts me in a good mood when I hear it. I love the horn accents on it as well; they give the song a big sound.

The mid-tempo "Falling in Love (Uh-Oh)" was the fourth and final single; it peaked at number 89 in the UK, number 28 in Canada, number 27 in the Netherlands, number 25 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 3 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. My favorite part of this song is the vocal harmonies on the chorus.

Side two kicks off with "Conga". As the first single, it danced its way to number 79 in the UK, number 60 on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 37 in Australia, number 18 in Sweden, number 16 in Switzerland, number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 7 on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 3 in the Netherlands, and number 1 in Canada and Spain. The opening horns and chorus chant were a call for everybody to hit the dance floor back in the summer of 1985. This song really got the crowded going. One of my favorite parts is the piano and percussion "duel" on one of the bridges. Of course, the song also reminds me of the opening to The Birdcage, a favorite movie of my wife and me from 1996 which starred Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.

The B-side to the first single was "Mucho Money", another Latin-infused dance track about a gold-digging dame.

After two workouts, the band slows things down again with "You Made a Fool of Me", a sad song about a love triangle. The sound is completely stripped down, with a simple drum rhythm and keyboard. This allows Gloria Estefan's vocals to soar.

"Movies", with its upbeat tempo, was the B-side to both the second single in Europe and the third single. It name drops a lot of classic stars of the silver screen.

"Surrender Paradise", the closing ballad, was also the B-side to the second single in the US and the fourth single in Europe. With its gentle swaying rhythms, it sweeps me away to a tropical oasis.

Back in fall of 1985, when I was living and working a co-op in New Jersey, I picked up a copy of Primitive Love on cassette and proceeded to play it a ton over the next few years. It was my first album by the Miami Sound Machine, and I became a fan of theirs because of it. It still remains a favorite of mine from that year as it is a party from start to finish.

For more from the Miami Sound Machine, click here.

1 comment:

HERC said...

I probably know this album as well as you do but there is little doubt you appreciate it much more than I do. Primitive Love is forever associated with the last woman I dated before I began dating the woman who is now my wife. That woman is my wife's older sister. She loved this album - just texted her and she confirms she still loves it.

Though the sisters had some similar tastes (Billy Joel, Madonna and handsy blue-eyed men), my wife is not a fan of Miami Sound Machine. Haven't heard the album in its entirety since 1986. and despite your best effort, I'm gonna keep it that way.

Rock or in this case Dance On, Martin