Wednesday, July 2, 2014

POINTER SISTERS-Break Out [Expanded Edition] (2011)


I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it.....anymore! At last, with great honor, my feature presentation on another one of my all-time favorite albums: "Breakout", the eleventh in the celebrated career of one of America's legendary and iconic soul music groups, THE POINTER SISTERS. Technically peaking, this is not the same "Breakout" album that I listened to when I was a kid back in the early 80's; this 2011 double-disc remastering ensures that fans of Ruth, Anita and the late June (God rest her soul) will have an extra long time to relive some of their greatest hits! I can't even begin to say how many childhood memories are dredged up every time I hear "Jump (For My Love)" on the radio, and how many have surfaced in the past week from countless repeated replays of it on my car's stereo. I vaguely recall literally jumping up and down every time the sisters chimed 'Jump!' and 'Jump in!' during the song's memorable main chorus. And I also have a vague memory—or was it an imagination?—of doing a sillier dance on that same part that resembles one hand passing over the other hand in sync with the beat, similar to the very beginning of the infectious dance practiced by the Spanish girl group LAS KETCHUP on their hit song "Aserejé". So now I can jump up and down in excitement with all of these remixes that I hadn't enjoyed before—five altogether, including the extended instrumental at the end of the first CD, which is a must-have for me personally, because that spacey synthesized melody has so much nostalgia attached to it! My childhood memories don't stop with "Jump (For My Love)"; I have even more on my #1 favorite POINTER SISTERS hit. Can you guess what it is? "I'm So Excited", of course! "Jump (For My Love" was my #2, by the way. But "I'm So Excited"—this hit totally ROCKS! Talk about a song that makes me wanna get up and dance! 'I'm about to lose control and I think I like it': I'd have to agree with that classic line from the main chorus, because that's exactly how I feel every time I hear this jam! Yet my favorite line is when the sisters go 'I know, I know, I know, I know, I know I want you (five 'I knows' there)', repeating the 'I want you' in the main chorus's second pass and again later in the song. But the song really shines in the final moments when the lyrics change 'what you do to me', 'I got to give it up', 'you got me burning up' where Anita 'breaks out' from the sisters on lead and the music climaxes with that amazing signature piano arrangement that rides the song right from the beginning along with the jazzed-up trumpet accompaniment. Loved this song so much as a kid that, as a project for my music class back in the seventh grade, I composed my own version of "I'm So Excited"—not with the rollicking success as the POINTER SISTERS, but a capable version of it nonetheless.

The problem with having all of one's favorite hits clustered together is that the remaining tracks go practically untouched. Hence the issue with this first CD, as the first sextet of songs was basically it's own separate six-track CD within the CD. Was hard enough moving beyond "Jump (For My Love)" and eventually "I'm So Excited" this past week. There's "Automatic" (my #6), which I could set on automatic replay all by itself; this song just makes me feel good! Always a pleasure hearing Ruth's deep alto on lead vocals. Kinda funny that, for the longest time, I really couldn't distinguish the sisters' voices one from the other. The album's most beautiful song and my #4 favorite which has turned into an addiction: "I Need You". When that mellow, starry melody and that breezy rhythm hits my ears, followed by the tender voices of the sisters taking turns delivering the tender lyrics, it makes my heart melt inside. Love the part where they sing 'you know I need you, you know I want you, I got to have you by my side'. I personally 'needed' the extended versions found on both CD's, but now I 'need' an instrumental of "I Need You" to complete the package..... So what's my #3 favorite? One of the album's more overlooked jams, the funky and electrifying "Dance Electric". That one's started to become an addiction, too. Sounds like there should've been a special dance of some kind associated with that track , doesn't it? Too bad I don't get to enjoy an extended version of it, as it seems to cut off much too soon for its own good. But that funky dance beat and hearing the sisters singing together in unison in the main chorus—makes me wanna get down and dance right along with them! That leaves my #5 from this sextet, and that award goes to the straight-up-and-boogie jam "Neutron Dance". Now this one definitely should've had its own trademark dance steps! Especially since there are the lyrics that go 'I'm just burning, doing the neutron dance'. Well, you can burn a lot of holes in the floor with the extended remix on the second CD. Doesn't make my Top 6 list, but another fun song I really like is "Baby Come And Get It". I call this the 'Misfits' song, in reference to the rival band featured on the 80's cartoon show called "Jem". Remember in the long version of the opening credits where THE MISFITS interrupt the music and sing 'we are the Misfits, our songs are better, we are the Misfits, the Misfits, and we're gonna get her' in monotone? That's nearly the exact same manner in which the sisters sing the lyrics to the main chorus on "Baby Come And Get It" (so odd how I came up with that comparison). One last gem from this double-disc remastering that I gotta mention: "Nightline". I've always loved the version by disco/soul queen Randy Crawford, but the sisters' more funkier pop remake rocks the dance floor like just about everything else on what I deem to be their true 'breakout' album:

CD #1

1. Jump (For My Love)
2. Automatic
3. I'm So Excited
4. I Need You
5. Neutron Dance
6. Dance Electric
7. Easy Persuasion
8. Baby Come And Get It
9. Telegraph Your Love
10. Operator
11. I Need You [Single Version]
12. Automatic [Single Version]
13. Jump (For My Love) [Single Version]
14. I'm So Excited [Single Version]
15. Neutron Dance [Single Version]
16. Baby Come And Get It [Single Version]
17. I Need You [12" Long Version]
18. Jump (For My Love) [12" Instrumental]

CD #2

1. Jump [Original Version]
2. Automatic
3. Baby Come And Get It
4. I Need You
5. Dance Electric
6. Neutron Dance
7. Easy Persuasion
8. Nightline
9. Telegraph Your Love
10. Operator
11. Automatic [12" Special Remix]
12. Jump (For My Love) [12" Long Version]
13. I Need You [12" Special Remix]
14. I'm So Excited [12" Remix]
15. Neutron Dance [12" Remix]
16. Baby Come And Get It [12" Remix]

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