Jul 3, 2012

Rick James - Street Songs (1981)


The classic one- the cover's not as mesmerizing as Bustin' Out of L Seven which recalls The Ramones' big dumb 80s period, playing Street Fighter at an arcade machine at night, Escape From New York, and The Warriors. Nor as creepy as Throwin' Down which is the end of Poltergeist II meets Mad Max by way of a creepy sexual theme park ride or laser tag. Not as confusing as Garden of Love's surreal take on reggae artwork. BUT I LOVE THOSE BOOTS. OH THE CLASSIC ONE. There's no Mary Jane or epic heartfelt Hollywood! But that doesn't matter. There's a Ghetto Life, and if that's not good enough, a Super Freak. You know what? I'd be happy with even one of them. The fact that it opens with the lesser known (actually a single, whatever) but equally strong Give It to Me Baby just makes the record all the more confident: James is gonna come back from a critical lull (Garden of Love), grabbing the listener's attention and promising he won't let go 'til his 8 tracks are over. His grip weakens (now regretting this analogy) on Mr. Policeman- not because of the message but because it's not quite as good as the ones that come before and after. The final four are solid though. The only problem might've been the seven minute Fire and Desire, but it's crazy epic and touching in its hit those high notes when you've got no more words to sing wooooooooo sugar sugar sugar-ness. His songs don't always grab me (I try to forget about his and Prince's rivalry), but there's always enough chaotic funk and sexual ridiculousness to keep me listening and saying fuck yeah I love Rick James! Street Songs! Mary Jane! Hollywood!

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