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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stevie B - Party Your Body & In My Eyes

Name: Stevie B
Album(s): Party Your Body~, In My Eyes*
Year: 1988~, 1989*
Style: Dance Club Pop
Similar Artists: Power Station~Seduction~Tony!Toni!Tone!~Bobby Brown~Whitney Houston Church Songs*
"One-Word" Review: dancefloor-sweat-rhythm
Based Out Of: Miami, Fl
Label: LMR (Lefrak-Fuhrman-Moelis Co.~,Lefrak-Moelis Records*), Little Major Records Distribution~

Party Your Body & In My Eyes - Covers
Party Your Body & In My Eyes - Backs Party Your Body & In My Eyes - Records
Party Your Body (1988)
  1. Party Your Body 4:34
  2. I Need You 5:06
  3. Stop The Love 5:00
  4. Day N' Night 5:02/
  5. Dreamin' Of Love 4:08
  6. No More Tears 6:01
  7. Spring Love 5:03
  8. Baby I'm A Fool For Love 4:52
In My Eyes (1989)
  1. I Wanna Be the One 4:54
  2. Girl, I Am Searching For You 4:45
  3. I Came To Rock Your Body 5:00
  4. Love Me For Life 5:12 /
  5. In My Eyes 5:09
  6. Lifetime Love Affair 4:11
  7. Come With Me 4:39
  8. Children of Tomorrow 4:46
Album Rating (1-10): ~8.0 *7.5

Members & Other Bands:
Stevie B (Hill) - Wrote, Arranged, Vocals, Instruments, Drum Programs, Computer Edits, Percussion, Produced, Mixed, Engineered~*
Tolga Katas - Instruments, Computer Edits, Percussion, Samples, Produced, Mixed, Engineered~* (Linear, MTS)
PJ Austin - Computer Edits~
Herb "The Pump" Powers - Mastering~*
Herb Moelis - Executive Producer~*
Samuel J. LeFrak - Special Thanks~
Laurence Moelis - General Counsel~
Bonnie Schifano - Copyright Coordinator~
John McKinzie - Art Direction & Design~
Dadgel Ataby - Music Arrangement*
Glenn Gutierrez - Music Arrangement. Computer Programming*
Jimmy Starr - Mixed, Engineered*
Lee Lebowitz - Cover Design*
Johnny Cruize - Photograph*
Claudette DeBarros - Fashion & Design*

Unknown-ness: I never heard of Stevie B. But I saw this at the thrift store, and did not buy it for a few weeks. Then, after I saw Kanye West’s mullet, I was inspired to go back and give these albums a chance if they were still there. The crazy early 90’s artwork, style and especially hair made me want to get these sure-to-be cheesy records, with nearly each song with the word love in the title, like an Air Supply album. I was not sure what exact style this was going to be, but I was pretty sure it was going to be danceable. And I hope the joke-y-ness of the albums does not wear too thin, if the albums are not stratightforwardly good already.

Albums Reviewed: ~“Party Your Body” starts off the first album with latin synthesized horns and typical 90’s dance pop. The vocals are light and non-threatening. The music feels like a steamy, seedy night in a dance club, like he scene from National Lampoon’s European Vacation where Rusty dreams about dancing to “Some Like It Hot” by the Power Station. It is just like that song. “I Need You” starts with new wave conga synth and Stevie yelling out with plenty of reverb. This is a light, generic pop song, but it is still catchy. It has great lines like “Sha-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Baby.” The synth bass is a very satisfying liquid deep effect and in uncontrollably pleasant every time it is used to punctuate the end of the musical loop. “Stop The Love” is more 90’s rap in production, and it ends up heading toward something by Denise Williams or any other synth dance pop act from the 80’s or early 90’s. It was an over done style, but that does not mean it was bad. It generates the image of a smoky disco, flashing lights, and care free grinding. Or a near empty skating rink. Lyrically, he borrows directly from The Jackson 5. “Day N' Night” picks up with a slightly slower version of the song directly before it. It features a short breakdown rap shoved in the middle of the song, but it is not given much time to take hold and throw off the smooth catchy rhythm.

“Dreamin' Of Love” starts with the popular synth keyboards, and new wave effects even similar to OMD or Pet Shop Boys. The backing music could even have been used in video game music. There is even some scratching of the vocals to the rhythm. “No More Tears” is slower and features a more island synth rhythm. It is a much simpler, empty sounding song, where besides the vocals; only the bass drum and clicking metronome-like percussion keeps the momentum going. It fades out, and up next is the biggest hit on the record “Spring Love.” It starts with laser like synth keyboard sounds. The sweet, comforting storytelling vocals roll over the catchy melody at another video game like example…it kinda reminds me of Dr Wily’s music from Mega Man 2. The nervous wood block and clicking percussion build a great dance base for the song. It is also a little like Milli Vanilli, but a little less catchy. For a regular listening song, it is a little long, but perhaps for a dance floor, it is perfect. “Baby I'm A Fool For Love” is the last of the songs, and enters with a percussive cow bell mixed with the beat. The jazzy synth adds and the quiet and smooth vocals begin. It feels a little like it should be a Bobby Brown song. The song and album ends in a fade.
* “I Wanna Be the One” picks right up with the same synth sounds. The melody is even catchier and its shaky quality adds even more charm. I might have actually heard this song before…it kinda sounds familiar. It is more complex than anything that appeared on the first album, the chorus is a different catchy (but similar) melody than the rest of the song. The song is a really good pop song, as you wait for the chorus to drop, and it is pleasant when it finally does. The final note is held onto as the song fades out. “Girl, I Am Searching For You” has a grand classical themed synth intro that quickly turns to dance floor rhythm. The song builds well as a pop song, but the delivery does not please as much as it should. The song is missing something in its production that would make it feel bolder and more enjoyable. But the music style definitely takes me back to the radio fare that was on in the early 1990’s. And the follow-up to his “Party Your Body,” “I Came To Rock Your Body” is a little more jazzy, and less danceable, taking its cues from Prince. The strength feels like it is uncontrollably slipping through Stevie B’s fingers with these last couple of songs, when compared to the stellar opening track and last album. They just feel even lighter and airy and lack that dancy punch the first album had. Going all Whitney Houston on us, Stevie B gives us the church prayer “Love Me For Life.” It is perfect for a middle school dance, but not for a Miami Nightclub. This would even make, with different production, for a great monster ballad.

The album’s name-sake starts side B “In My Eyes.” It is a jumpy Latin-jazz synth, but the vocals drain any minimal energy from the song. They are quiet and smooth, but in a negative way for the first time here. The chorus is a bit stronger, and very repetitively catchy, but it does not save the song. “Lifetime Love Affair” starts off just like a Pet Shop Boys song. It has a bit of a “Smooth Criminal” beat. Again, this is more of a pop song than a dance track. The energy is really saved for the chorus, it really breaks through the quiet and safe range that all the songs have run through so far. The repetitive chorus at the end of the song is very good and makes it memorable. “Come With Me” follows up with more jittery electronic dance music, back on track and into the clubs. The build up to the chorus is very strong, the delivery is better than “Searching For You.” There are some generic effects thrown in, perhaps just because they can, and I guess they add a bit to the song, and make it less repetitive. But there is a fade out, where it should be a cold stop. Oh well, still a solid song. “Children of Tomorrow” fulfills the weak theme for this album: to end both sides as Whitney Houston church ballads. I can’t even finish this song up.

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