Spin Me Right Round: Drink The Milky From Milky Way Cup

Sunday, October 26, 2008

She isn't called the Ivory Queen of Soul for just kicks and giggles. Whether it be a energetic funk fest or a heart on sleeve ballad, Teena Marie delivers solid music every time. Since her start in 1979 as being the late funk meister Rick James's protege (and "Midnight Magnet") Teena has always been an above and beyond vocalist and proving that soul knows no color. By the mid-80's Teena shifted gears into a slicker synth-fused funk sound and one such product was her 1984 album, Starchild. Starchild boasted the smash hit, "Lovergirl" as well as other pop n' funk cuts that were meant to keep those feet in motion. As this is fashioned as a mainstream album, Starchild still possesses some unknown little gems. The title track is one of those sparkling cuts that once you hear it's intergalactic groove, you're hooked. Same can be said for the rock exercise of "Jammin'" and the Pat Benatar on R&B drugs, "Alibi". "Help Youngblood Get To The Freaky Party" is a bit of a mouthful of a title, but what a funky little stepper it is! Of course Teena doesn't skimp on the ballads. While some find her "Out On A Limb" ballad compelling, I beg to differ. While it is a strong track filled with emotional juice the best ballad is the Marvin Gaye tribute, "My Dear Mr. Gaye". Recorded right after Marvin's tragic death, the track creatively showcases Marvin's signature soul sound in various tempos. Teena even recruited Marvin's band to play instruments on the track...talk about a tribute! If there is one album to kick your Teena collection into high gear, Starchild is a great place to start...downright funky and elegantly sleek. To this day, the cover art should be on a T-shirt somewhere....just sayin'.

Rating: 9.0/10

Teena live on Solid Gold performing "Lovergirl"...oldie but a goodie...not feelin' the outfit (fringed pants...no) but her slinging that guitar around just spells out "fierce" with every motion.

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