Relive the Magical Vinyl Experience of Donna Summer’s ‘Bad Girls’ All Over Again

Donna Summer ‘Bad Girls’ 40th Anniversary Vinyl Edition

Back in the summer of 1979, Donna Summer reached the peak of her zenith with her double album, Bad Girls. Considered her career milestone, the masterfully crafted double platter dominated radio airwaves, filled night club dance floors and livened up countless living room parties.

Now, Summer’s career-defining masterwork is being celebrated with a special 40th anniversary vinyl edition. This is the first time this best-selling classic has been reissued on vinyl since its original release in 1979. The new reissue was released on July 26th and is available as a double LP gatefold pressed on 180-gram vinyl. This collector’s edition also features the vinyl debut of the demo version of the album’s title track as an exclusive bonus, making this the perfect opportunity the relive the magical vinyl experience of Donna Summer’s Bad Girls all over again. So, dim all the lights and take a musical journey into the center of the heart of one of the most captivating classic dance albums of all time. [Read full article]

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The Queen of Pop returns with audacious ‘Madame X’ but is it the Madonna album fans really want?

Now that I’ve listened to Madonna’s latest work in its entirety, I will say the best word I can think of to describe my initial reaction is confounded. Upon first listen, the bulk of Madame X strikes me as material left over from Rebel Heart, but the outtakes from those sessions were actually more exciting than most of what Madonna serves up here. Throughout the album’s duration, I sometimes found myself dazzled, yet other times I was fully disheartened. The only things here that come close to being creatively interesting are: “Dark Ballet” (with its quasi-classical break), the choir laden and danceable “God Control” and the self-referential “Extreme Occident.” Unfortunately, the annoyingly repetitious “Crazy” sounds like a bad Taylor Swift song that you hope you never have to listen to again.

The closest things you’ll find resembling “classic” Madonna here are: the danceable “I Don’t Search I Find,” the downbeat balladry of “Looking for Mercy” and the declaration of perseverance testament “I Rise.” These particular highlights sound as if the best parts of Madonna’s talent were determined to escape Jeff Bhasker, Jason Evigan and Mirwais’ heavy-handed production stratagems. [Read full review here]

Bananarama Returns with First Album in a Decade

“Been a long time, been a, been a long time…”

In Stereo is a musical triumph, brimming with catchy melodies, hypnotic hooks, luscious harmonies and dance music with pulsating beats that actually make you want to get up and dance. The sultry sexiness of lead single “Dance Music,” along with its infectiously irresistible follow up “Stuff Like That” were both excellent teasers of what In Stereo promised all of us eagerly awaiting new material from Bananarama. Luckily, that promise is more than fulfilled here, making the agonizing decade of anticipation well worth the wait.

While there are plenty of club bangers to satisfy your feet, In Stereo also includes some delicious ear candy; like the Blondie-esque “Looking for Someone,” the beautifully moving “On Your Own” and the breezy “Got to Get Away,” the latter of which sounds like classic pre-Stock/Aitken/Waterman Bananarama with a deftly modernized zest.

Perhaps the best thing about In Stereo is that it doesn’t overreach by trying to be anything trendy or cutting edge (if such a thing still exists nowadays), it’s simply Bananarama doing what Bananarama does best; crafting infectious earworms combined with an effervescent spirit of fun. Thankfully, Keren and Sara are still savvy enough to give us fans exactly what we want. Are you paying attention Kylie Minogue and Madonna? [Read full review here]

Madonna: “Medellín”

Madonna has just dropped the leadoff single from her forthcoming album, Madame X, her first since 2015’s Rebel Heart. Unfortunately, “Medellín” is not the Queen of Pop’s return to form her diehard fan base has been awaiting. Instead, our first taste of Madonna’s fourteenth studio is a laidback English-Spanish collaboration featuring Colombian singer Maluma.

The Latin pop of “Medellín” is slyly seductive, but sadly comes off sounding like a reductive attempt at trying to recapture Madonna’s previous Spanish-tinged pop hits “La Isla Bonita” and “Who’s That Girl.” Once again, the former leader of musical trends sounds like she’s unsuccessfully chasing relevancy instead of doing what she does best, which is exciting us with her legendary brand of dance-pop classics.

Judging from the Latin-tinged reggaeton of “Medellín,” along with Madge’s solid, but lackluster previous two efforts MDNA and Rebel Heart, I’m left wondering if Madonna is simply unwilling or incapable of producing material as strong as the output of her glory days.

Madame X seems to be an enticing concept for a new Madonna album, but the first offering leaves much to be desired. Ultimately, the excessively auto-tuned “Medellín” isn’t bad, just very disappointing. “Sipping my pain just like champagne…” Could this be “the day the music died” Madonna herself warned us about in her 2000 remake of Don McLean’s “American Pie”?

Go-Go’s ‘Talk Show’: Something to Talk About

Exactly 35 years ago this week, my entire world revolved around awaiting the release of the Go-Go’s third album, Talk Show. Therefore, in celebration of this milestone, I’ve decided to pluck it from obscurity and revisit its virtues for posterity.

Talk Show hails from the heydays of when new wave and MTV ruled, all the way back to the early spring of 1984, but I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I achingly recall how the previous year had been sheer agony for myself and fellow Go-Go’s fanatics, as Belinda, Jane, Charlotte, Kathy and Gina seemed to all but disappear from the 80’s music scene, despite making a big splash with their two important and impactful releases; Vacation and Beauty and the Beat, both of which I have discussed previously (those can be found by clicking on the abovementioned album titles).

Producer Martin Rushent amped up the guitar crunch and added subtle sprinkles of piano and synths, consciously choosing to veer away from the girl group echoes of Richard Gottehrer’s previous album productions, which added a much-needed renewal to the Go-Go’s sound. Bassist Kathy Valentine handled the lion’s share of lead guitar licks due to Caffey’s battle with carpal tunnel, which added a noticeable frenetic ferocity throughout the album’s 10 tracks. Talk Show’s material was masterfully accentuated by Gina Schock’s unyielding and metronomic pounding of the drums, undeniably proving that Schock indeed, still had the beat. [Read full tribute here]

Donna Summer: ‘Another Place and Time (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)’

To commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of Donna Summer’s 1989 studio album, Another Place and Time, a special ultimate deluxe version will be released on March 29, 2019 by Driven By The Music. This release celebrates Donna Summer’s collaborative studio effort with Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman, aka SAW, known for their world renowned “hit factory” sound. The thirtieth anniversary edition will be available in a 3 CD, DVD-sized 24-page media book, as well as a 2 LP silver and red collector’s vinyl edition.

Summer’s landmark SAW album was a successful comeback for the “Queen of Disco” and contains the Top 10 hit “This Time I Know It’s for Real” plus the singles “I Don’t Wanna Get Hurt,” “Breakaway,” “Love’s About to Change My Heart” and “When Love Takes Over You.” A follow-up album to Another Place and Time was planned as another Summer and SAW collaboration, but sadly never came to fruition.

The deluxe anniversary edition will contain the original album, numerous extended and single versions, 6 previously unreleased mixes, and two brand new exclusive tracks; “The 30th Anniversary Minimix” and “The 30th Anniversary Megamix. The 24-page book will feature excerpts from newly conducted interviews with Matt Aitken, Pete Waterman, Phil Harding, Summer’s former husband and co-writing partner Bruce Sudano, plus new liner notes by NYC-based music journalist Christian John Wikane.

Daryl Dragon 1942 – 2019

( : A&M Records)

Daryl Dragon, the man behind the keyboard stacks and producer of hit-making duo Captain & Tennille passed away on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Dragon, along with his former wife and partner Toni Tennille created a musical pop culture legacy that includes well-known hits “Love Will Keep Us Together,” “Muskrat Love” and “Do That to Me One More Time.”

Captain & Tennille made an unforgettable impact on me during my formative years, which has lasted well into my adulthood. I previously paid tribute to the Grammy Award-winning pop duo last summer in my piece titled The Pop Perfection of Captain & Tennille, which details my admiration for Daryl Dragon’s talented contributions as half of Captain & Tennille. You can read more by clicking on the above link or by clicking here.

R.I.P. Daryl Dragon and remember, we never really say goodbye.