Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Donna Summer - Bad Girls (1979)


Note: the CD I listened to was an early CD pressing, not the 2 CD deluxe edition released in 2003, unfortunately.

This morning, I woke up in the mood for some disco, went to the shelves, and was about to select a compilation I had recently purchased.  Then I noticed Martin over at Martin's View posted that today is the 35th anniversary of the release of this chart topping album.  It was like a sign sent from that big mirror ball in the sky. The aforementioned disco compilation was re-shelved, a restocking fee was charged, and I found my copy of Bad Girls.

To call this thing a concept album about prostitution might be a stretch, but let's go there anyway.  It's easier to call it a concept album about sex. I was twelve when this released so both sex and prostitution were things we didn't discuss at our house (remember I was a preacher's kid).  That made this forbidden music which made it that much more attractive to me, naturally. 

Critic William Ruhlmann of allmusic.com puts it best when he calls this album "the artistic and commercial peak of [Summer's] career and, arguably, of disco itself."  I also get a chuckle out of this from Robert Christgau: "You tend to suspect anyone who releases three double-LPs in eighteen months of delusions of Chicago, but Donna is here to stay and this is her best album." Multi-platinum sales, Grammy award and multiple nominations, #1 album, #1 singles, yada yada yada...

"Ma’am, who is this Queen of Disco?" (SNL, 4/15/2000)

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1 (6 weeks between June 16 - Aug 4, 1979)
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #1 (3 weeks)
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #1 (5 nonconsecutive weeks) 

Tracks:  Of the 15 tracks here, only 4 were also included on the Summer compilation in my collection, The Donna Summer Anthology.  Bad Girls was originally released as a 2 LP set; what was the first LP (tracks 1-8) is a great stand-alone album that sees disco moving to a slightly harder sound - Giorgio Moroder sure knew what he was doing.  Tracks are carefully segued with no breaks just like a good DJ would mix it, so there's no need to skip any of those tracks.  In addition to the three hits (Bad Girls, Hot Stuff, Dim All The Lights), I'm particularly fond of Journey to The Center Of Your Heart and the funky chorus of One Night In A Lifetime. We're not as lucky with side three (tracks 9-12) which bogs down with ballads.  Not that Summer can't pull off a good ballad, but that's not why I buy her music.  Side four (tracks 13-15) gets us back with a return to the more synth-oriented sound that harkens back to I Feel Love.  The album ends with the wonderful but overlooked Sunset People.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  None.  I didn't own this album when it was released.  I mistakenly thought there wasn't much need to own it since I could hear the hit songs on the radio (bad pun intended).

Previously revisited for the blog:
The Donna Summer Anthology (1993)


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