Tuesday, October 13, 2015

STAR SISTERS-Danger (1985)


Warning—this next treat can be potentially hazardous to your pop music health.....that is, if you can't withstand a little addiction. Nothing like a guilty indulgence from my favorite decade to perk up my music appetite, and this time, the Dutch girl trio THE STAR SISTERS and a full serving of their 1985 album, "Danger", are the tantalizing culprits. The girls might not look all that 'dangerous' from the album artwork pictured above (a curious design, I must say, with them holding up the flags of the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and the United States Of America), but the songs they serve up here are red hot.....with some sugar and spice, of course, that only pop music from the awesome 80's can possess. Feel the heat first on the delightfully catchy title track, where you're introduced to their sweet unified voices. The heat had barely worn off by the time my ears took in the next track, "He's The 1 (I Love)", where I would get that familiar 'uh-oh, here-comes-a-jam' rush that I always get when I know that I'm about to get hooked to something good. That funky beat is totally to blame, plus the fun lyrics of the chorus ('he's so fine, gonna make him mine' and 'can't resist his tender kiss' being a couple of my favorite lines there). Then I got another familiar feel-good rush tuning in to the more chilled "You Make Me Feel Alive"—chill-out indeed, with the puffs of the trumpet jazzing up the already sweet melody. Up until that point, this Dutch trio is just warming up. Things start to get a little spicy on "Skin On Skin", where the girls show that they want some real body contact, singing that they want it to run like a river and taste like wine, as the sensual lyrics go (the provocative whispering of 'skin' adds a seductive touch) in sync with the smooth rhythm. It's surprise, surprise after that with a really sweet treat within this sweet treat—a remake of the MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS timeless classic, "Dancing In The Street". Always fun times hearing modern-day covers of these old memorable favorites, isn't it? A touch of funky retro pop in the synthpop arrangement gives this STAR SISTERS version a slight throwback feel while still retaining that infectious 80's perk that makes it so addictive. And now that I've shifted focus to blasts from the past in pop music..... There's a second memorable classic I recognized as soon as it started playing: "Baby Love". Yeah, remember that hit by Regina? Surely, it had a lot of international success in order for these STAR SISTERS, who were all the way over in The Netherlands, to have taken notice of it to do their own version of it. A great idea, as "Baby Love" is the type of bubblegum Madonna-esque song that totally suits their style. Making it even sweeter is the perky saxophone break midway through (I always gotta highlight the cool jazz moments on these songs). And there's even more memorable classics to indulge in with their surprise treat on Track #11! At first glance, it may just look like an extended mix of their remake of the Donna Summer classic. Which it is, at least at the very beginning. But then when the music shifts to a cover of the LaBELLE classic, "Lady Marmalade", I knew that my ears were getting entertained by a medley of sorts. Turns out that it really would be a medley; in fact, it's the same "Bad Girls" medley that I'd heard just this past year when I got my first taste of listening to another all-female trio: BARBARELLA, who are , coincidentally, also from The Netherlands! So all of those same snippets heard on BARBARELLA's medley are here to enjoy on the STAR SISTERS version, including pieces of the main chorus to Jermaine Stewart's "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off", ZZ TOP's " Gimme All Your Lovin' " and THE BEE GEES' "That's The Way I Like It", among others. As if what I've already raved about isn't dangerously addicting enough..... "The Duke Of Dance" is cute bubblegum 80's romantic pop at its sugary finest—treating their man like royalty while is what this one's all about. "You're My First, You're My Last" has that same sensual feeling like "Skin To Skin".....though maybe with a little less bite for the tamer listening audience. And listening to the 12-inch version of "Are You Ready?" only made me want to hear the original recording (if one such recording exists?). Besides the playful way the girls tease with the singing of the word 'touch', the song totally defines the 80's with its catchy beat and a seamless rap contributed by a talented guy whose voice-overs are heard before the rap break. This album really is a danger to those of us—like you and me—who are nostalgic about music from the 80's; don't say I didn't warn you:

1. Danger
2. He's The 1 (I Love)
3. You Make Me Feel Alive
4. Just Another Night
5. Skin On Skin
6. Dancing In The Street
7. The Duke Of Dance
8. You're My First, You're My Last
9. Baby Love
10. Cold As Ice
11. Bad Girls [12 Inch]
12. Are You Ready? [12 Inch]
13. The Duke Of Dance [12 Inch]
14. Danger [12 Inch]

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