Thursday, December 02, 2004

"Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent," Gwen Guthrie (9/6/86)
According to Joel Whitburn's Top R&B Singles 1942-1995 (the source of all chart info for this blog), as of the book's 1996 printing, Guthrie was the #459 R&B artist of all-time. Which is as hard as proof gets that sometimes, it comes down to one song. Because apart from "Rent," Guthrie only hit the top 20 one other time - and for that matter, only hit the R&B chart 11 times in all. Forward-thinking production and lyrics ("a fly girl like me," et.al.) made this quite possibly the most of the moment charttopper in '86. Hell, even the title is very "it's 1986, and I am one in charge, fierce-as-I-wanna-be woman." Mind, that works against it, too. B+

"Love Zone," Billy Ocean (8/30/86)
He had an awfully good '86, didn't he? If "Caribbean Queen" is the middle ground, and "There'll Be Sad Songs" the bad, this is the defiantly, better-than-it-frankly-deserves-to-be, good. Since the first time I heard it, "Zone" had me hooked, and does to this day. I suspect it's something to do with the vaguely (but not really) Asian high-pitched keyb figures in the background, the politely funky bass, the perfectly plucked guitar. But more than all that, it's the fact that for once, I believe him. This isn't some cut-rate bill of goods I'm being sold, this is for real. Plus, the phrase "Love Zone" is delightfully so-bad-it's-yes-good. No parking please, this is the love zone. A-

"Do You Get Enough Love," Shirley Jones (8/16/86)
No, not that Shirley Jones. Though this generic midtempo ballad might be more interesting if it was. Not bad, just dull. And very mid-'80s. C+

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