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Throwback Thursday/Duran Duran/’Rio’

“I don’t remember quite how I met you, was it long ago?” These are the opening words of “Last Chance On The Stairway” from Duran Duran’s iconic Rio album. I have a similar relationship with Rio. I can’t say I remember the exact day I bought [the album], which is quite unfortunate. In fact, I may have bought my copy of Rio from the Columbia House Record Club sometime in late 1983 or early 1984. No matter how I acquired Duran Duran’s sophomore set, it started a love affair that has lasted over 30 years. 

Rio was released worldwide in May 1982 and reached #2 in the UK charts. The original Rio album, marketed as “New Romantic” music, received lukewarm reception when released in the US in November 1982. After being remixed, remastered, and remarketed as “dance music” to the American market in early 1983, Rio managed to climb to #6 on the Billboard 200 album chart and remained in the chart for 129 weeks. At the same time, the lush videos for “Hungry Like the Wolf”, “Save a Prayer” and title track “Rio” were in heavy rotation on the burgeoning MTV Network (Yes, Virginia, they did play music videos once upon a time.)

I have to say that it wasn’t actually Duran Duran’s good looks that hooked me either. You see, at the height of MTV’s popularity, most of Philadelphia didn’t have access to cable TV. Although I had been buying the latest copies of Tiger Beat, 16 Magazine, BOP, and Teen Beat since the days when Shaun Cassidy was in The Hardy Boys, I somehow didn’t realize the glossy full color pictures of the guys with the eyeliner and coiffed hair were actually Duran Duran! Even though Duran Duran were now being played in heavy rotation by Barsky in the Morning and Terry Young in the afternoon on Hot Hits 98.1, I never associated the music with “those guys in eyeliner”. In fact, I used to rip all the Duran Duran photos out and trade them to my friend Colleen in exchange for Ralph Macchio and Rob Lowe. It literally took Colleen saying “That song “Hungry Like the Wolf” that you like so much…THAT’S those guys in eyeliner” to make me realize who Duran Duran actually were!

When I first heard “Rio” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” on the radio, I can’t even explain what it was that caught my attention. Was it the driving bass line, the tight drums in perfect sync with the bass, the lush synths, or just the melodic and smooth vocals that compelled you to sing along? Perhaps it was the imagery the lyrics conjured up in my mind – I could picture a beautiful model pirouetting in circles across the sands (of the Jersey Shore) or a guy smitten by a girl that he saw just once, chasing her around in unrequited love. Whatever it was, the songs were fun, they were catchy, and I was hooked.

In 2013, after far too many years of being a completely underrated bass player, MusicRadar named Duran Duran bassist John Taylor at the top of their list of the 60 greatest bass players of all time. (In comparison, Bernard Edwards of Chic, one of Duran’s biggest influences, was ranked at #13). In the song “Rio,” John Taylor pulled off one of the most technical bass lines ever written at the young age of 21. Not bad for a self-taught bass player who started his musical career playing guitar at the age of 18. You can listen to the isolated bass line from “Rio” here to get an idea of exactly how complex it is.

Though Rio has often been named one of the “must have” albums to own, it has continued to be an underdog in the musical world. In fact, Duran Duran continues to be dismissed as one of the “pretty boy” flash-in-the-pan bands from the 80’s despite the fact that they have never officially broken up and have continued to record and release albums consistently over four decades. In 2015, they released their fourteenth studio album, Paper Gods for which they are currently touring. If you have never listened to the entire Rio album, it’s about time that you did. If you’ve never seen Duran Duran live, or always wished you had, you can catch the Paper Gods Tour in Philadelphia on Thursday, July 21 at the BB&T Pavillion in Camden. Or, if you’re like me, and can’t wait until July, you can catch Duran Duran on Tuesday, April 5, at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, PA.

 

Do you want to be a guest writer for Philly Mixtape? Find out right here how it can happen! 

 

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Throwback Thursday/Missy Elliot/’Miss E…So Addictive’

Break me off, show me what you got, cause I don’t want no one minute man.”

Not only are those words to live by, but they’re also the coveted lyrics spit out (in your face!) by the one-and-only Missy Elliot in “One Minute Man,” the glorious second single from her third album, Miss E…So Addictive. Earlier today, Philly Mixtape began serving up its 5 albums celebrating music milestones in 2016 list, and since Elliot’s magnetic record is celebrating its music quinceanera (fifteen) this year, the proper #TBT treatment was absolutely necessary. In fact, So Addictive is kicking off Philly Mixtape’s brand spankin new Throwback Thursday column, in which some of you groovy kids out there may be able to dive into. However, before we get to all of that, we’re going to grab a glass of Tropicana and musically x it out to my personal favorite TBT diva, Ms. Missy Elliot and her tingly third record, Miss E..So Addictive

Released in May 2001, the fifth-letter-of-the-alphabet drenched Miss E… So Addictive was led by the monstrous single, “Get Ur Freak On,” which quickly became a song that even your grandma is still gettin’ down to today. Thanks to Timbaland, who supplied all the beats for the whirling set, Ms. Elliot once again set the triple stacked bar high for having one hell of a chart busting single that indeed, like she says, shook the radio like it had a gun. With its Bhangra influences, one-of-a-kind flow (“copy written, so don’t copy me.” Work, Missy) and an accompanying video in which featured a (literally) head tossing Elliotand  takes us into a crazy f$%King world loaded with special guests (Da Brat! Ja Rule!) and hypnotic visuals that only she and director Dave Meyers know how to deliver. Even 15 years later, the video for Missy’s trademark spit is still considered light years ahead of its creative time.

“Freak” was followed up with singles, “One Minute Man,” (“welcome to the get ur freak on hotel”), the ballad, “Take Away” (miss you, ‘Liyah) and “4 My People,” a grimy club groove co-starring Philly’s own Eve which still gives off that special spinal tingle that only Ms. Missy knows how to serve up. It was also right around this time that Elliot was that bitch in the music production world, producing hits for pretty much everyone in the game, including Bubba Sparxx (“Ugly!”) and Lil Kim, Xtina, Mya, P!nk and Mr. Rocwilder on a little Moulin Rouge pop rewire called “Lady Marmalade.” Really, how can we ever forget?? No, no…that wasn’t a question.

There’s a reason why the critical response to the album was unanimously positive around the music globe and that it snatched up two Grammy Awards for “Get Ur Freak On” and the non-single “Scream a.k.a. Itchin'” for Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Female Rap Solo Performance–it’s just that fucking record. Not only did it help put our girl further on the music map, but the brilliance lying within would lead to Missy and Timbo to collaborate on follow-up, Under Construction, an album that made Ms. Elliot the workin’ it music legend she is today. 

So, now onto the TBT business….

Do you enjoy writing? Do you love all things music? Do you think you can write about your favorite album for days? (I personally know some of you out there absolutely can) If so, Philly Mixtape wants to make it all for you like Janet in our brand spankin’ new Throwback Thursday column, which is aiming to feature a rotating roster of fabulous guest columnists! 

So, all you have to do is have a favorite album (no matter what it is, you guys have heard what I listened to, there’s no shame in this music game) and be able to throw it back in about 500 words or so. It’s that simple! One of Philly Mixtape’s goals for year two is to keep spreading that music love, so we definitely want to hear from you and get our groove on to what you got! So, please, don’t be shy. All you have to do is go to Philly Mixtape‘s Facebook page right here and give us a shout if you want you to get your TBT music love out there for everybody! It’s that easy! 

 

 

Also, give us a like on the page while you’re at it, too, because this 2016 music party is just getting started

And may you forever and always work it like Missy. 

 

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5 Albums You Should Be Listening to Right Now/TBT Edition

Throwback Thursdays are certainly that day of the music week where the most groove truth lives on…

Let classic (and sometimes forgotten about) records by Garbage, Missy Elliot, Tom Petty, Destiny’s Child, and the Unbreakable diva herself, Ms. Janet Jackson, make all of your #TBT music dreams come true. 

Garbage/Self-titled

Do you remember the first time you laid your eyes on ginger rock queen Shirley Manson twenty years ago?

Hard to believe, but Garbage’s miraculous self-titled debut is now two decades old. But lucky for us, each of the Butch Vig produced numbers still sound as delightfully moody and murky as they did back then. From start to finish, there’s not a hard, yet somehow easy hitting track on the set, including singles “Vow,” “Queer,” “Stupid Girl” and “Only Happy When It Rains,” a track that to this day still remains everyone’s favorite rainy day anthem.,

Sorry, RiRi, but Ms. Manson was here first.

Missy Elliot/Under Construction

Throwback Thursdays just simply wouldn’t exist without a little Missy, especially the throwback gems that get to work on her ’02 Grammy grabbing Under Construction set.

Album singles, “Work It,” “Gossip Folks,” “Pussycat” and “Take Away,” (miss you, Liyah) always get the M-I-double S-Y E job done, as well as the Method Man assisted (and Biggie sampling)  “Bring the Pain,” and the Jay Z co-starring “Back in the Day,” which will always gets the British Knights music party started.

Destiny’s Child/The Writing’s on the Wall

Since the music news broke that Beyoncé Knowles father, Matthew, is teaching another class on how to be that superstar like his daughter, another round of Destiny’s Child’s ’99 set, The Writing’s on the Wall, is absolutely necessary.

Besides the late ’90s Darkchild truth that lies in singles, “Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Say My Name,””Jumpin,’ Jumpin'” and “Bug-a-Boo,” album cuts “Hey Ladies,” “Temptation,” and the winning, “So Good,” always make for a Tina Knowles worthy DC music time.

All served with a side of “thou shall not think you got it like that,” of course. 

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers/Greatest Hits 

If there’s one rocker whose created music that’s perfect for any fall music TBT occasion, it’s Mr. Tom Petty and his merry band of Heartbreakers.

Their ’93 Greatest Hits set has all the old school rock truth you could ever want, including the classics, “Free Fallin,'” “I Won’t Back Down,” “American Girl,” “Refugee” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”

Pass the Tom Petty music dutch, please.

Janet/20 Y.O. 

Musically sandwiched in between 2004’s Damita Jo (which followed “Nipplegate”) and ’08’s Discipline, (her last album before her hot,  just released Unbreakable set) 20 Y.O is a Janet album that tends to get lost in the shuffle.

Now, is it her best studio effort? Not exactly, but the old school Janet flavor just flows in tracks like “Show Me,” “Get It Out Me,” “This Body” and lead single “So Excited,” which brings the dance heat with its balls-y breakbeat and timeless sample of Herbie Hancock’s scratch-alicious “Rockit” record. 

Pure Janet bliss.