Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Matthew Wilder-I Don't Speak The Language (1983)


No breaking away from the oldies nor the 'M' artists yet just, as I suddenly find myself back in the familiar neighborhood of music that was the awesome 80's. Though I cannot say that I had ever been very 'neighborly' with Matthew Wilder, the man famous for coining the unforgettable "Break My Stride". Prior to today, that Top 5 had been the only one of Wilder's hits that I'd ever heard, so it was time I finally got down to his level and 'spoke his language'.....listening to all of the songs on his 1983 debut album, that is. But of course, I had to treat myself to repeated listens to "Break My Stride", which is one of those simple yet ultra-catchy tunes that brings back those warming sounds of my favorite decade. Not only have I always liked that light synthpop beat—it always makes me think about circus music—but Wilder's vocals as well, which I can only characterize as being quirky. And as for the lyrics themselves, well, they're certainly motivational and encouraging—particularly the part that goes 'ain't nothin' gonna slow me down, oh no, I got to keep on movin' (and I like when he echoes 'oh no' in the final pass of this main chorus). Found it hard to break free from listening to that gem over and over, but I had to discover what else I'd been missing all these years. And what did I get? Seven more gems! Can't believe that none of these were hits! Maybe not officially, at least. "The Kid's American": Just entirely too infectious of a dance tune to ignore with its high-energy tempo, the clapping during the beat drops and the jazzing up on the saxophone about midway through, all with some fun lyrics where Wilder describes everything that makes a boy American—from smoking cigarettes to wearing jeans. Took me a minute to get into the title track and its unusual new wave-ish production, but that dreamy, ambient melody that drives the song kept me afloat for the whole ride. Tunes like "Love Above The Ground Floor" and "World Of The Rich And Famous" are the reason why it's good to go back and check out these vintage albums from the past, because now I favor it more than "Break My Stride"! That early 80's dance rhythm.....it just never gets old! While I was listening to the latter, I even said to myself, 'There are some really good songs here!'. This one should have made him 'rich and famous' just like "Break My Stride" surely did! And I love that funky bridge where Wilder is almost singing in monotone—best part about the song....besides the dance beat, that is. The lovely dreamy ambiance again kept me tied to "Ladder Of Lovers", where I found Wilder's soaring vocals to be surprisingly stunning. And after another perky tune, "I Was There", the pleasantries on the ears surface one more time with "Dreams Keep Bringing You Back". I may not have fully ingested everything that Wilder was saying on all of these songs, but the music itself here on "I Don't Speak The Language" is definitely speaking my language:

1. Break My Stride
2. The Kid's American
3. I Don't Speak The Language
4. Love Above The Ground Floor
5. World Of The Rich And Famous
6. Ladder Of Lovers
7. I Was There
8. Dreams Keep Bringing You Back
9. I Don't Speak The Language (Reprise)

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