Monday, April 2, 2018

Sunland-Whatcha Got! (1999)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: April 2, 2018

I've always got some goodies to share here at "The Music Spectrum"! With the weather being all cold, rainy and dreary on the outside, I brought a little sunshine on the inside by spending part of my early evening with the bubblegum Europop called SUNLAND. "Whatcha Got!", which was a gift from a fellow Europop music lover, marks my second go-round with this group led by the brilliant voice of a Claudia Vasquez whom you see featured front and center on the album artwork above. And already tantalizing my earbuds right off the bat was the reggae-pop opener, "Gimme Gimme Gimme", which quickly had me all caught up in the catchy sing-along of a chorus that goes 'gimme gimme gimme what you got-got-got, all i really want is la-la-la'. Then right after, I couldn't help but to jump down to the 'Miami Mix' to indulge in this guilty pleasure further! But jumping back to Track #2 a few minutes later is when I'd get my latest bubblegum addiction! "Super Lover" literally is a super song, thanks to the fun bits of references to Superman and Lois Lane, with even the guest MC guy rapping about Clark Kent midway through and at the very end. For even more fun-filled moments, you'll have to check out "Who Is She?" (the parts of the chorus where she goes 'whoop-de-doo and hallelujah' and 'does she treat you like I do now?' are what got me on this one) and the trip-hop cut called "It's All Good, Jack", where Claudia and her guest MC take turns saying whatever social situation comes to mind, followed by a street wise ' what's up with that? ' (my favorite one is when the MC guy states something twisted about your date showing up with your mate). Things get exceptionally sunny when the tempo is cranked up for the three dance jams: "Sister Ann". "Sunshine" (that powerful, divalicious voice of hers breaks out big time on this one!) and the best of the trio, "Life Is Like A Dance" (I take it the same guest MC is elivering the lead vocals on this one, and if so, he does it so well&mdashl;nice and fluid and soulful against the breezy groove and dreamy melody with Claudia, this time, serving as the backup with her frequent seductive whispers of 'like a dream' throughout). A pleasant surprise sparked me halfway through the album with "Summer Rain". No, not a dance cover of the Belinda Carlisle hit by the same title; although that would've been great, I'd already recently enjoyed a dance remake of the Belinda hit with the all-girl dance group called SLINKEE MINX. Actually, this SUNLAND interpretation of "Summer Rain" turns out to be a 7+ minute long electronic instrumental with a distinctively-80's synthpop arrangement that brings to mind any of those science fiction-themed educational shows that I grew up watching on TV back in the day. In fact, the music sounds very similar to Paul Harcastle's memorable gem, "Rainforest", which coincidentally was recorded back in the 80's. And it seems like the producers were still in the ambient/electronic mood with the recording of "She Will Always Remember". Not as long as "Summer Rain" at about four-and-a-half minutes, but with the ambient, slow groove and the sparkly keyboard accompaniment as the backdrop to Claudia's chilled voice, this one could be seen as the summer rain after "Summer Rain":

1. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
2. Super Lover
3. Shame
4. Who Is She?
5. Sister Ann
6. Sunshine
7. Summer Rain
8. Life Is Like A Dance
9. It's All Good, Jack
10. She Will Always Remember
11. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (Miami Mix)

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