Friday, October 05, 2007

Just Let Your Soul Glow!


Rick James "Glow" (Glow, 1985)

Rick James "Rock And Roll Control" (Glow, 1985)

By 1985 Rick James' act was seen as played out. His infamous decline into drug abuse was in full swing. But Glow was a comeback of sorts for him. After producing a hit single for his good friend Eddie Murphy ("Party All The Time"), Rick returned to the studio to make his first solo record since 1983's Cold Blooded. 1984 had seen a hits comp entitled Reflections (that featured one new single "17") and Tony Montana sized piles of blow. The album's title track was the first single and saw moderate success. "Glow"'s video saw Rick James honing his acting chops, and could be seen as an indirect commercial for the product Soul-Glo from Murphy's film Coming To America. In the video, James depicts a rock star falling apart at the seams (a stretch for him I'm sure) and actually contains the line "I'm Rick James!", which may or may not have been included to embellish Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories sketch on Chappelle's Show.

The "Glow" video has a happy ending, though. As soon as Rick takes the stage and falls flat on his face, he remembers why he's up there: to rock the house. Clad in leopard skin, he shimmies and rocks his s-curls to the delight of the crowd, all while jamming on his bass, and in the end he gets his girl back. "Rock And Roll Control" from side two of Glow backs up his comeback kid concept, admitting his flaws as well as his battles with cocaine:

I was so shy
All I did was just get high
And live my life in a dream
I was snowblind
That my two eyes couldn't see
A true reality
But now I'm back y'all
Did you think
That I would fall
And not get up in style?

"Glow" would be the last true hit for James until 1990, when the spandex bicycle shorts/big puffy pants sporting MC Hammer would sample "Super Freak" for his universe smashing single "U Can't Touch This". At first James was angry that someone had sampled his song. That is until he saw how much royalty money he was going to make from the smash hit, upon which he embraced the former Oakland Athletics batboy with open arms. If "Glow" was a redemption story, remember it's just a story. Dark clouds were forming around Rick James impeccable mane, and they were about to rain shit upon his flowing locks.

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Blogger Bimble said...

This album completely flips my goddamn fucking lid.

11:19 PM PDT  

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