Thursday, July 15, 2010

Music Box: Cuckoo for 'Koo Koo'

Couldn't help but smile when I saw Erasure singer Andy Bell choosing Debbie Harry's ill-fated solo debut, "Koo Koo," as something he "advocates" on the back page of the new Advocate magazine. "The first solo album ... is full of quirky rhythms, raps, and groove. It's proof that this lady has always been way ahead of the curve." Couldn't agree with Andy more, even if nearly 30 years later I still maintain my contention that it wasn't as good as it should have been given the people involved in the album's production (the legendary Chic Organization, Deb and musical genius Chris Stein). Rather than sounding like a collaboration of these four gifted artists, some of it still strikes me as a "project" that could have just as easily been presented to, say, Cher, Sheena or Liza, people who are vocalists rather than musical artists, like Debbie. 

Perhaps the fact that they foursome -- Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards being Chic, of course -- only collaborated on two songs ("Oasis and "Under Arrest") played into this feeling, although I can't say it's totally obvious who wrote which of the other eight tracks. Maybe my expectations were just too high, or maybe I let its lack of success influence my reaction -- which would bolster Andy Bell's "ahead of its time" sentiments. Either way, I'm sitting here listening to "Inner City Spillover" -- having just heard "Surrender," "Chrome," "The Jam Was Moving" and "Jump Jump" -- and while I don't think to myself, "THIS should have been a smash!," the way I do when I hear "I"m Gonna Love You Too" or even "French Kissing in the U.S.A.," which was perfect for 1986, I do think this is a really interesting album. So like Andy Bell, I too ADVOCATE a little "Koo Koo" in your collection, even if I'm not quite cuckoo about it.

Rings a bell

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