AVERAGE WHITE BAND: CUPID'S IN FASHION (1982)
1) You're My Number One; 2) Easier Said Than Done; 3) You Wanna Belong; 4) Cupid's In Fashion; 5) Theatre Of Excess; 6) I Believe; 7) Is It Love That You're Running From; 8) Reach Out I'll Be There; 9) Isn't It Strange; 10) Love's A Heartache.
I will try to be brief. An album titled Cupid's In Fashion cannot be a great album – period. An album titled Cupid's In Fashion and featuring six white-clad guys on the album cover cannot even be a good album. And an album titled Cupid's In Fashion, featuring six white-clad guys on the album, and coming from a band that went from playing their instruments to manipulating them, is zooming straight ahead into the realm of total darkness.
The only comforting thing I can say about Cupid is that, even in 1982, the band was holding out against going electronic, and, apart from some occasional robotic tampering with the drums, most of the music was still built around funky guitar playing, brass riffs, and gentle keyboard patterns. But this time around, there is not even an ʽInto The Nightʼ in sight — everything is either pedestrian dance muzak or mushy, instantly forgettable balladry.
ʽReach Out I'll Be Thereʼ is the obvious standout, of course, since great Motown hits of the past have very little competition when they are surrounded by flat hackwork; but, predictably, the band adds nothing to the original, yet detracts quite a lot — and this is probably the first time I really feel the urge to strangle Gorrie for his falsetto.
Other than that, the title track is the only one that even attempts to build up a hookline, but it is a shallow and cold hookline, and marred with awful lyrics to boot. This whole musical schtick was hopelessly dated by 1982 — on-the-edge dance music was evolving in the direction of Controversy and Thriller, which these guys were unable to follow, being completely stuck in the reserved, «uptight» state of the 1970s. An obvious thumbs down — the only sensible thing they could have done at that time was to break up, and, fortunately, that is exactly what they did, once it became clear that Cupid, apparently, was not nearly as much in fashion as advertised. Especially when the Cupid that you are advertising looks suspiciously like a rubber doll.