Tuesday, February 14, 2017

RISQUÉE-Risqing It All (1999)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: February 14, 2017

Taking risks is a frequent venture of mine when it comes to music, whether it's checking out new or unfamiliar artists recommended for listening or something of a personally requested nature. Though often times, I'm certain my ears will be treated to a great listen, simply because of who are what the artist in question is. The latter was the case with this all-girl pop trio that called itself RISQUÉE, who are not to be confused with the Dutch all-ladies 80's disco group that called itself RISQUÉE (without the extra 'E' added on at the end of its name). Since they're a complete mystery to me, and remain a virtual mystery in all of the music databases I've poured over, I can only tag this trio with the label of being obscure (that's just my favorite way of saying that a given artist is rare and unique). And since I've labeled them as being obscure, it could only mean that nothing but good tunes would flow from their one and only known album, "Risqing It All" (liking the stylistic spelling of 'Risqing', replacing the '-SK' that is properly read in the word 'risk' with the intentional omission of the 'U' behind the 'Q'), because nearly all of the obscure pop artists I've listened to are good! The first indicator of that: the groovy Latin-flavored Eurodisco jam called "Fiesta Mayor" I'd tracked on while in the heat of my initial investigations into this trio's origins; the Spanish lover in me was delighted in every way! "Fiesta Mayor" appears to have been a standalone single following this album's official release, so it serves as a special bonus here and makes up for the absence of the elusive track, "I Believe In You", which is found exclusively on the proper sixteen-track Japanese edition. Having been formally introduced to these RISQUÉE girls and their collectively pop-tastic voices on "Fiesta Mayor" (I needed to get filled up on that one at least twice before I proceeded any further), I was all geared up to receive their other tasty pop treats, starting with the smooth groove of an opener that is "Let Me Be (Your Only One)", where they sing about being the ones who can show the men in their lives things that they've never seen or dreamed before. It's that 90's girl-group pop spirit that attracts me to the suspenseful jam, "Whatcha Gonna Do?", the suspense coming from the slight edginess of the chords and accompanying rock guitars and the boy's dilemma of what will become of him if the girl walks out of his life and leaves him for good. 'Naughty or nice is the way to be'—just a few of my favorite words from the chorus. Then right after that, I would get my first 'Music Surprise Of The Day': a funky, jazzed-up remake of the Diana Ross disco classic, "Upside Down". A celebratory 'yes, I knew it!!!' erupted in my mental jukebox the moment those memorable words of ' upside down you're turning me, you're giving love instinctively ' entered my ears! The RISQUÉE girls sure did an excellent job in bringing this one back with some modern spunk; it had just made my day! Then two tracks later would be my second 'Music Surprise Of The Day': a modern dance-pop remake of the Pebbles 80's classic, "Girlfriend". Knew it was exactly that song when I recognized the opening words of 'I cried my last cry I'm out the door babe, there's other fish in the sea', then the words of sisterly advice that follow afterwards. 'Oh my God!', I must've shouted somewhere in my mental jukebox.....or at least mouthed it to myself. See, this is the reason why I love music so much; there are always surprises to blow you away! Then are are some songs that just whisk you away.....into a dreamland in a distant place. "The Silence Is Over" is one such song, a shift to a more touching, mellow side of the girls as they allure with their sweet collective voices of promise and dedication to be the one to free you, release you and the one you can run to. "Now I Know" represents another—a gentle, easy-listening slow tune that delights the ears and leaves you with a sunny air as the girls sing about their realization of what love truly is. More dance-floor thrills strike up on the high-energy, made-to-get-you-up-and-movin' jam "Get On Down" (the title already suggests some dance-floor thrills even before the music starts!) while it's a jazzed-up funk party getting fired up on "Good Love", "Everybody" (like the cool rap break where they throw in a reference to Christopher Columbus while talking about how everybody wants to be a lover), "Enjoy Your Life" (even more sisterly advice from them about making the most out of today since one never knows what the future holds) and "Silly Games", whose old-school feel of the music arrangement immediately captivated my senses before the fun lyrics that are the promises to stop all of the love foolishness got to me first. It's a sheer sign of pop addiction when even innocent, simple songs like "Call It Love" and its sensual hook'I call it love, baby, I call it L-O-V-E- love, baby' toy with your ears. So then what is it when a 30+ second long acapella snippet astounds you, too? That would be courtesy of the "Oh, What A Fool" interlude on Track #6, where these girls show off some sublime vocal harmony while admitting to being a fool to let the guy go. I only had to 'risk' about an hour of my free time to indulge in this pop treasure; perhaps checking out these obscure pop artists isn't such risky business after all?

1. Let Me Be (Your Only One)
2. Whatcha Gonna Do
3. Upside Down
4. The Silence Is Over
5. Girlfriend
6. Oh, What A Fool (Interlude)
7. Get On Down
8. Call It Love
9. Now I Know
10. Good Love
11. Number One
12. Silly Games
13. Everybody
14. If I Were You
15. Enjoy Your Life

*****BONUS TRACK*****'

16. Fiesta Mayor

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