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Archive for February 18th, 2010

Reissue Theory: Terence Trent D’Arby – “Introducing the Hardline According To…”

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For many, one of the most salient points of reissuing and compiling popular music is to help listeners rediscover lost gems that may have fallen into the cracks. Ordinarily, one would not consider a debut record that sold 12 million copies, spun off three Top 40 hits and won a Grammy a “lost gem.” And yet, it seems that at least one record, 1987’s Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby, has earned such a strange distinction.

Terence Trent D’Arby has always been something of an enigma. An American living in Europe in the 1980s, he seemed poised to grab the music-listening public by the balls, marrying old-school funk sensibilities to then-modern sonic textures. The fact that he wrote and arranged his own material and even played some of his own backing tracks – not to mention his stunning, video-ready physical features – made the comparisons to Prince, James Brown or Michael Jackson all too rampant. And audiences on both sides of the Atlantic were transfixed, thanks to catchy singles from the chart-topping “Wishing Well” and “Dance Little Sister” to smoldering ballads like “Sign Your Name,” a Top 5 hit.

But the thing that contributed to D’Arby’s eventual fall from favor wasn’t changing demographics or record label politics – it was himself. He possessed a wildly outsized ego in interviews, touting himself as a genius and claiming Introducing the Hardline… – a solid, if slightly dated LP – was greater than The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. Eventually, that pretension spread too far into his work and audiences sought other channels for their soul-dance-rock fixation, namely Seal and Lenny Kravitz. D’Arby’s commercial prominence never recovered, but he’s still happily making music in Europe under a new name, Sananda Maitreya, and bypassing the major label/physical product industrial complex in the process.

While the man may have gone off the deep end from time to time, his unique presence and rather exciting debut would be a great subject for rediscovery in the halls of catalogue titles. As always, find the potential bonus content after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 18, 2010 at 13:49

On the Record

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Much has been made about the communal nature of music by both those who create it and those who consume it. Millions of words, from Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity to Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke,” have been spelled out on the subject. Sometimes it takes time for us to grasp and appreciate their true meanings, but when we connect through song, it’s usually a wonderful thing.

This is usually the kind of thought that runs through my head as I walk into that beautiful, endangered ground they call a record store.

For most of my music-buying career, the record store didn’t have the kind of transitive power it may have had for some of you. Music was always a large part of the family – an uncle of mine who’d passed away almost too soon for me to really remember him had owned a record store of his own in New Jersey, after a stint working for RCA. (It wasn’t until later in life that I’d realize how formative having a relative so involved in the music business could be.)

Thanks to an incredibly photographic memory, I can recall where and when I obtained nearly every one of the albums I own, or the chain of events that led me to purchase them. But the journey never meant much to me back then. Chalk it up to youthful indifference, I guess, a problem that hit much of my generation hard in terms of music. Too much of my collection was obtained at Target, K-Mart, Sam Goody or FYE, and it seemed so convenient to get stuff there that I didn’t really consider alternative routes to buying my discs.

Thankfully for me (and for you, the reader), that would change before too long. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 18, 2010 at 00:36

Posted in Features, Open Forum