Friday, September 17, 2004

"Kiss," Prince (4/5/86)
This one's simple-sounding because it's simple, in a stripped-down sense at least. If this, coming on the heels of the back-to-back Purple Rain and Around the World in a Day, didn't convince you of the motherfucker's reach and talent, nothing would. Your loss, sucka. His finest #1 single, ever - and the best one reviewed here, yet. A+

"What Have You Done For Me Lately," Janet Jackson (3/22/86)
Hard and dry, "Lately" was the start of a new era in R&B; while it wasn't Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis's first charttopper (that'd be this one, nearly two years prior), it was the one which signalled their true arrival. Control is the sound of Jam & Lewis, perhaps even moreso than the littlest Jackson, locking into a groove - a groove which proved to be damned near indestructible and unbeatable. As The Neptunes and Timbaland have been the kings of the (production) world for the past 4 (or so) years, Jimmy & Terry, alongside L.A. & Babyface, were for the last four years of the '80s. This one - and the entire Control album - paved the way for so much. The song itself? As we all know, it's a sassy steppin' out partay for Janet, which feels lightyears from Damita Jo. Then again, it should, since she was but a teenager when she recorded this. I recently observed to my bf that Control has aged better than perhaps expected; I now prefer it to Rhythm Nation 1814, felt by most back in '89 to be a superior album. So simple-sounding it's not simple at all, and that's where its brilliance lies. A-

Thursday, September 16, 2004

"Your Smile," Rene & Angela (3/15/86)
I told you they did better than "Save Your Love," and here's the proof-laden pudding. Plush keybs make a fine bed for Angela Winbush's vocals to lay their head on. When she "melt[s] with love," you can't help but join her. A

"How Will I Know," Whitney Houston (3/8/86)
Dated as hell, yeah, but still buoyant as hell too. And I keep pointing this out, but only 'cause it's so obvious you may have forgotten: what a voice, and what a singer. Clive Davis is a very wise man, you know. And "How" is a lovely whipped-cream sundae of a single. B+

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