Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"The Raw & The Cooked" by Fine Young Cannibals (1988)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl

Fun Fact: Don't Let it Get You Down is a pretty good homage to / ripoff of Prince

"Don't look back, it won't do no good."

Key Tracks:
She Drives Me Crazy, Good Thing, Don't Look Back

Obvious Filler & Swings-and-Misses:
"The Raw & the Cooked" is yet another victim of closing-track-itis, where they tack on one track at the end that doesn't come close to the caliber of anything else on the record.  In this case, it's an unnecessary and neutered cover Ever Fall in Love as originally done (infinitely better) by The Buzzcocks.

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
Recommended Listening (3/4 stars)

"The Raw & the Cooked" is one of those time capsule LPs - it's a perfect snapshot of a specific sound from a specific time.  If you're a music fan, even if you didn't know anything about this band or these songs, you coud probably still guess it's release date within a year or two.

The sound is that certain pop-soul blend exclusive to the late eighties.  It's smart, soulful and exactly the right kind of retro for the period.  It makes perfect sense that this album came out the year after "Dirty Dancing" and Never Gonna Give You Up were released.

Well, that's a big part of the sound, but it's not all of it.  What sets FYC apart is that they chose to meld that trend with heavy dolyps of thick electronic beats and splashes of early Brit-pop.  That combination makes for a rather unique sound in a pop act clearly shooting for the top forty.

So, is it an album?  Yes.  I'm kind of surprised to say so, considering that this LP was recorded over three years at various studios around the world (including the famous Paisley Park).  Fine Young Cannibals deserve great credit for clinging tenaciously to the rather unique sound they were trying to achieve and ultimately seeing it through.

Up next, we revisit country juggernaut Alabama again with "Feels So Right."

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