Tuesday, February 7, 2017

BAHA MEN-Move It Like This (2002)


You'll be movin' alright! As my Monday night turned over into Tuesday morning, I was still up and in the mood for something warm, festive and fun to keep me and my ears company. Listening to the SOUL BROS. single of "Baby Come Back" got me thinking about other artists with soulful voices and a festive music spirit, and that's when I recalled my previous joyride with the Bahamian band best known for their smash hit, "Who Let The Dogs Out?" In my second trip with them here on "Move It Like This", I quite literally found myself doing a whole lotta movin', starting right away with the dance/pop feel-gooder of a title track. You can't help but to get up and move on this one! First the beat sweeps you off your feet, then the BAHA boys chanting 'can you move it like this' with the ladies responding back with 'I can shake it like that' in the chorus. And then things really come alive with their fun lyrical tributes to all of the throwback dances of decades past: the twist, the electric slide, and even doing the mashed potatoes (and that bit of nostalgia had me thinking about that "Do You Love Me?" song from the 80's Patrick Swayzee film, "Dirty Dancing"). And the respectful shout-outs the lead man gives to all of the peoples in various cities across the USA at the tail end—I like when artists do that. The BAHA boys maintain the feel-good party spirit of ' movin' it like this ' for many subsequent stops along this cruise: Track #8's "Gidddyup", a jam with a throwback pop feel and a sunny chorus; "We Rubbin' ", a more up-to-date, hip-hop-flavored dance/pop jam with a slight rock kick where the suggestive words of 'let the rhythm take control' and 'raise your hands up high' makes for quite the crowd-pumping pleaser; "The Wave", another cool throwback-sounding jam (I'm hearing both a 90's house rhythm mixed in with an 90's synthpop style here) that becomes highly addicting with their repeated delivery of 'can you jiggle it, come on and wiggle it'; and "Blow Your Mind", a true anthem of a jam that actually does blow my mind due to its funky pop production that had me conjuring up images of THE JACKSON 5 "ABC / I Want You Back" inside of my mental jukebox. Then there are the jams that throw in a slice of humor to spice up this Bahamian musical. Their modernized twist on the old folk classic "Coconut", a song I recall hearing as a kid and had always associated with being a children's nursery rhyme of sorts, is a flawless four-minute good time. Yep—those memorable words of 'is there nothing I can take to relieve this belly ache' are still there, and I like the one guy of the BAHA crew whose soaring voice sails up ever so angelically in his delivery of 'Doctor....' in the chorus. "Normal" may not look like much from its simplistic title, but once the irregular bumpin' beat and their reggae vocals slide in, you're already hooked! This song's all about the things that people think aren't normal with the question of is there more than one way to be in life; it reminds us that some things that are strange to one person may be normal to everyone else. My favorite part is the 'so what' breakdown where they list everything weird they might want to do, answered with a resounding 'so what!'. And taking that 'so what' attitude further, so what if they want to play the love game without making commitments on "I Just Want To Fool Around"? This simple-and-to-the-point theme is enlivened by the semi-drum n' bass beat and the tribal, almost ceremonial feel of the rhythm, the song becoming an ethnic affair with the background unified voices chanting ' hey, ho, I say yeah but don't say no ' and ' I don't wanna ' as the guy on lead vocals offers that he doesn't wanna settle down and only wants the lust and the joyride without worrying about all of the extra stuff. The most humorous jam of all: "Rich In Love".As the music sways and swing along, there's a comedic story yet an important lesson being shared about a man who's poor on finances but wealthy when it comes to affection. He speaks the truth when saying that he's not HSBC nor Citibank, not Gucci nor Versacci, with the guest female vocalist chiming in and responding that he's not her type of man if he's not Bill Gates, can't pay her rent and can't fill her grocery basket. Well here's a couple of jams I could fill myself up with all day long: "Best Years Of Our Lives", whose trumpet-led, Latin salsa-flavored dance beat reignites the festive island party and puts me into a merry mood, and "Break Away", which is a mid-tempo r&b-flavored island groove that talks about two lovers escaping the stresses of life, sailing into the sunset and into a secret romantic paradise far from reality. There is one stop along this cruise, however, where all of the movin' and groovin' slows down for a spell: "I Thank Heaven". This twinkly, tender gem is about the man's gratitude to the lady for making him feel complete by filling his heart up with love; it's such a touching song. But as this album's theme is all about rhythms and beats to get you up and movin', I had to conclude this mini-novel of a rave review with my thoughts about the thrilling remix to the opening title track. I ended up favoring it more than the non-mixed version, thanks to the added layer of synthesized glitz that turns it into an electrifying techno/Euro-disco affair! Serves as a perfect bookend, yet this BAHA MEN storybook will surely remain open so that these musical adventures can be relived anew:

1. Move It Like This
2. Coconut
3. Normal
4. I Thank Heaven
5. Best Years Of Our Lives
6. Break Away
7. Rich In Love
8. Gidddyup
9. Blow Your Mind
10. We Rubbin'
11. I Just Want To Fool Around
12. The Wave
13. Move It Like This [Shake It Like That Mix]

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