Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Roger Troutman-Unlimited! (1987)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: November 22, 2016

Yes—the steady flow of feelgood tunes from the 80's is 'unlimited' indeed! I find myself returning once again to my favorite decade as I continue to reconnect with the 'R' artists who have been stashed away in my music collection for far too long. Keeping me and my ears company tonight was the man who's been celebrated as being one of the premiere early pioneers of the 'talkbox era': Roger Troutman. It was sometime during my elementary school yesterdays when I'd eternally be captivated by his memorable soul classic, "I Want To Be Your Man". Those signature digitized, robotic voice effects—the the very first thing that attracted me to the song, as I recalled believing it was the coolest things ever heard in music at the time. Even now into my adulthood, I still have those sentiments; evidence of that can be found right here at "The Music Spectrum" where, in countless numbers of my previous reviews, I've raved about featured artists who've made excellent usage of the talkbox themselves. There's nothing like a digitally-disguised voice to add a little stylistic zing to an already-good song, which also happens to be one of THE definitive and timeless romantic slow jams of that decade! I'd nearly forgotten that, here on this "Unlimited!" album, that Roger had served up the follow-up reprise a few tracks later called "I Really Want To Be Your Man". Well if he didn't make his intentions loud and clear the first time, he surely reinforces that romantic desire here, albeit through minimal vocals and a more seductive groove, highlighted by the sharp guitar solo and the puffs of woodwind melodies sweetening the music. I could tell that it really had been too long since I last listened to Roger when I had no memory of this album's' second scintillating slow jam, "If You're Serious", before I began playing it. Then all at once, it seemed like all of the words and the familiar chords raced back into my mental jukebox. A proposal for everything that the woman desires—that's what this charmer of a song is and is a perfect companion to "I Want To Be Your Man", pleasing the ears further wth the lusciousness of the soft groove and the happy trumpet solo midway through. Thinking more about songs that make complementary companions, Track #3's "Been This Way Before" and "Thrill Seekers" are the perfect match for each other. The former is a trip back to the old school to the Golden Age of rap, where simple yet meaningful messages for youngsters and beatboxing were the main event. Here, Roger schools us on the importance of saying 'no' to drugs—offering that pills only gave him temporary relief—while the thunderous, big-time beats in the backing production spruce up the song into explosive thrill ride that it becomes! The latter speaks a similar truth, the message on this one about young people who are living life in the fastlane and the potential dangers and hazards awaiting them at very corner. 'There is a killer out there waiting for you,' Roger warns in so many words, and that in itself is nothing to be thrilled about at all. What is thrilling, however, is the funky beat, and once the words of wisdom are wisely accepted, the music will win you over! Then there are the jams that made me sorely miss the 80's all over again: "Night And Day" (funky, upbeat, and super catchy), "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" (the Roger Troutman talkbox returns here, turning this one into a cool tune, too!) and the curiously-titled "Bedistgutarist-A-Rown", where the infusion of the rock guitars give the music (and your senses) an energetic kick. And totally right on point with my recent chill-out music-listening mood is the slowed instrumental ambiance of "Composition To Commemorate". I had limitless possibilities for who I could have listened to tonight, but I'm so glad I got settled in for this "Unlimited!" joyride around the proverbial block:

1. I Want To Be Your Man
2. Night And Day
3. Been This Way Before (Rap)
4. Composition To Commemorate
5. Papa's Got A Brand New Bag
6. Thrill Seekers
7. Tender Moments
8. If Your're Serious
9. Private Lover
10. I Really Want To Be Your Man
11. Bedistgutarist-A-Rown

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