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Blessed are the people
When they produce a freak
SHE'S A FREAK
Side-projects are soooooo weird. It's pretty odd that they ever fine true success, and experimental pop band The Tom Tom Club is certainly no exception. While they had a minor hit back in the early 80s, they never even came close to the success their parent band Talking Heads had. Founded by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth in 1980, the duo began working some interesting musicians and began to comprise musical genres in the era of confusion (1978 - 1983). After a successful debut, the musical collective began producing some forgotten underground records like Dark Sneak Love Action and Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom. But in 2002, the magic was reworked in the form of The Good, the Bad, and the Funky, an album that took their famous cues from so-called "black music" and updated it for the mellowed-club scene. The sound of the project, overall, feels much like an afterhours house party. It's 2 AM, and you've been on your feet all night. And the pulsating funk beats have been hypnotically working their way into your brain since you first walked in. Before long, you're experiencing a musical acid trip that's both relaxing as it is energetic and slick.
I first bought this album when I was thirteen years old. At that age I shouldn't even have known who this band was, but I was already a tried and true fan of their eponymous album. At that time, I tended to get fixated on one or two songs, obsess over them, then lose the CD before even having the chance to hear the rest of it. By the time the novelty of the record faded away, I didn't really care about it anymore. It wasn't until college that I began to closely study the bands that came out of this experimental time in music. Then I ran across this 2002 exploit in a used section of FYE for only 6 bucks-- I knew I had to buy it. The album has already held up these past seven years and still sounds as fresh as ever; I also feel like this record will sound fresh in twenty years. The Tom Tom Club was and is interested in making thoroughly enjoyable music, and with this album they really got into the groove. With her dreamy vocals, Tina Weymouth sounds as sweet as she ever have, if even more like an angel. The style of the album is slickly produced, but just as to-die-for as their gritty debut. Musically, the band was back on top (as they would say), and it seems very much like the collective album they always wanting to make. I would describe the Tom Tom Club as a walk-in party disguised as a band. The music is very much communal, and everybody greatly contributed to the overall sound of this record. That just makes it all the more interesting. We have Björk-esque ambient tracks with soulful beats and instrumental interludes-- we have fun mid-tempo dance tracks. There's something here for each part of the night. It's a block party on a disc.
In terms of tracks, there are fourteen, two of which are dub remixes. It begins on a reggae-inspired dance track, Time to Bounce, that has a very tribal influence that's been remixed through the eyes of this crazy musical hodge-podge of a band. The introduction is very much an easing into what this album has to offer-- that means it's more linear than the other songs. The beat is accessible, and there are vocals from the lead-singer, Tina, that you would expect. And while she contributes thoroughly to this project, it's not always with her vocal chords. There are a quite a few songs on this album without her voice. And that's fine, too. The songs where she sings are heavenly, though, I must say, like the catchy Who Feelin' It and my personal favorite cut She's a Freak. However this time, we also are treated to a slew of guest vocalists who add their own style to each performance, giving this album a certain twist to it that takes it to the next level (listen to the ska-soaked She's Dangerous) The experimental side of the Club hasn't gone away, but it does sound slightly more directed than previous effort, and less like they are just trying to be weird-- the result is priceless. If you're looking for some neo-soul, urban tracks in the same vein as Seal or Jill Scott, then this is the album for you; except that these songs are a little bit more interesting. There's something about the ultra-cool vibe that makes this album a true gem and an underrated post-millennium classic.
01. Time to Bounce [5 Stars]
02. Who Feelin' It [5 Stars]
03. Happiness Can't Buy Money [4 Stars]
04. Holy Water [4 Stars]
05. Soulfire [5 Stars]
06. She's Dangerous [4.5 Stars]
07. She's a Freak [5 Stars]
08. (C'Mon) Surrender [4 Stars]
09. Love to Love You Baby [4 Stars]
10. Superdreaming [5 Stars]
11. Lesbians By the Lake [4.5 Stars]
12. Let There Be Love [4 Stars]
13. Time to Bounce Dub [--]
14. Dangerous Dub [--]
BEST: She's a Freak
WORST: Happiness Can't Buy Money
SCORE: 5 STARS [4.5+ ]
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