A blog about my favourite movies, music, and TV.

29 January 2009

Sheena Easton - Do You

Riding high on the success of her Platinum selling album, A Private Heaven, and another Grammy, Sheena Easton quickly recorded a follow up with producer Nile Rogers, in 1985, the result was Do You, a set of funky state of the art dance/pop tracks with a subtle retro vibe that was most prominent on her cover of Martha and the Vandella's hit Jimmy Mack.

The album kicks off with the cool and sophisticated Do It For Love, the lead single, and the first sign of a big decline in Sheena's popularity. Whereas Sheena enjoyed two Top 10 hits from her previous album, this lead single slumped at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the beginning of the end between her and EMI Records.

Don't Break My Heart is quite similar, but perhaps a little more playful. I think this is one of the stronger tracks, and would have made a great single.

Magic of Love is not one of the best tracks here and it was an absolutely terrible choice for a third single. It's a ballad amongst a set of mainly dance orientated pop songs and it just doesn't work. As ever, Sheena's stunning vocals are brilliant and shine through, its delivered with a lot of sincerity and subtlety. It failed to make any impact on the charts.

The excellent Don't Turn Your Back is up next, I love it when Sheena gets very passionate toward the end and starts singing:

"Don't turn your back on me, don't you turn your back on me, don't you turn your back on me!"

I like the bit where she sings about her shiny car and colour TV too! Sheena had it all! This one is a bit more rock oriented than the songs so far.

Jimmy Mack is another really, really strong track, it was the second single. It did even worse than Do It For Love, peaking at #64 on the Hot 100.

Can't Wait Till Tomorrow is pretty great too, a lot of the songs on the album are similar and this one firmly fits in with the dance stylings of the previous tracks. Again, this could so easily have been a single.

The next track, Young Lions, takes awhile to kick in, and when it gets going I think its just brilliant. I'm not sure if US radio was into the retro vibe at this point, but Sheena had it going on! It's so American and so early 80's, it reminds me of some of her earlier stuff, only updated slightly. I really like the lyrics too...

"We're young lions and the call of the wild's in our hungry eyes
These are the times we must fight to keep our dreams alive."

Kisses, is pretty forgettable, but its okay. It just plods along, and has that zxylophone sound that's also featured in Do It For Love. Money Back Guarantee is another dancey one, and has a really nice arrangement. The final track is a mid-tempo ballad written by Dan Hartman, and is a fan favourite, although not one I would particularly rave over, but as with everything Sheena sings it has an air of class that is irresistible.

This is a solid album from a very able vocalist and performer who really deserves more recognition and more success. The only trouble with this set is that some of the material can come off as a tad generic and the tracks are a bit too long. Sheena's voice is deeper and smoother on this record, a conscious decision to appear more mature and sexy! Hearing her voice on groovy 80's dance/pop is a treat, this is a far cry from the likes of Morning Train (9 to 5) and Modern Girl. This album is proper top shelf stuff in terms of production and vocals, which is such a quintessentially 80's trademark in itself, that fans will lap it up.

I think Sheena's image was absolutely amazing at this time too, take a look at this Solid Gold performance of Do It For Love, she looked like a regular on Dynasty. The album eventually went Gold and sold over 500,000 copies, it was re-issued on CD in 2000, but has since been deleted. This was her final album with EMI America. After a soundtrack single, So Far So Good, and a Prince penned ballad, Eternity, her 1987 LP was shelved and Sheena left the label and underwent a transformation from pop princess to R&B diva...

No comments: