Tuesday, January 3, 2017
The Party - Free (1992)
In my last post about actor-singer Paul Petersen, I neglected to mention he was once a regular on the TV show "The Mickey Mouse Club" way back in the 1950s. By contrast, The Party was an early '90s vocal group made up of members of "The New Mickey Mouse Club" in that era.
I'm less concerned with the differences between these two recording acts per se than in what the differences in their music says about our society, its arts, and its technological advancements (or lack thereof).
Consider: Petersen's music came out in the early 1960s. The Party's CDs were released in the early 1990s. That's about a 30 year gap. And yet the sound of Petersen and the Party's music couldn't be more different -- in lyrical content, in musicality, and in the technological sound of their records.
It's now been 25 years since this CD by the Party came out in 1992. That's almost as long as the time between Petersen's music and their own. But if you turn on the radio now, music doesn't sound all that different than the way it sounded a quarter century ago on the Party CD -- not in lyrical content, musicality, or in the technological sound of the recordings.
And, so, I throw out this question to y'all: What the does this mean? Does it mean we've stagnated in some ways? Does it mean our culture started to "slow down" some time in the 1990s? Or does it mean, perhaps, that stagnation is the norm and the late twentieth century brought about exponential change in technology and human relations that had no equal in history and will not be seen again.
It was a long journey from Petersen's "She Can't Find Her Keys" to the Party's "Free," which wast the single from his album. Somehow it seems like less of a journey between "Free" and something like Drake's "One Dance," which was one of the biggest hits of 2016. Maybe to a 16-year-old these tracks would sound wildly different, but I still doubt they'd sound like the difference between Petersen and the Party.
The big things that seems to have changed is the way we listen to music. A quarter century ago, this blog in its current form would not have been possible. Nor were MP3s in existence or the sharing of them. And you couldn't order CDs from Amazon and get them in a day. So I guess technology has, in fact, advanced, but just not in the area of how music itself sounds.
That still doesn't explain how or why the lyrical thrust of music has barely been altered from the era when I was a teenager but had completely changed in two decades after my folks were teens. But we can only ask so many questions in one blog post.
Speaking of which, this is the Party's third album (out of four) and it's out of print and unavailable for streaming. In my opinion, it's their weakest effort, but they could sing so it still sounds pretty good if you like this sort of thing. I already posted their second CD, which is now very hard to find. If I get in the mood to really annoy people, I may just post some of their "maxi-singles," where you get the same song remixed a half-dozen times.
Maybe waxing philosophical in a blog about a teenybopper act isn't the best way to put forth ideas about technology, sociology, and music. Then again, this is the way I like things to be. I'm as likely to find nuggets of philosophical truth in early Beach Boys throwaways as I am to discover them in Great Works of Literature, so this fits in with the way I view the world anyway.
More dope early '90s teen pop sounds:
Alisha - Bounce Back (1990)
Chris Cuevas - Somehow, Someway (1991)
Debbie Gibson - Rarities (1990-1999)
Hi-Five - Hi-Five (1990)
Homework - Homework (1990)
Ms. Adventures - Ms. Adventures (1990)
The Party - In the Meantime, In Between Time (1991)
The Superiors - Perfect Timing (1990)
Rick Wes - North, South, East, Wes (1990)
Rick Wes - Possession (1991)
2. Change On Me
3. All About Love
4. I Want You
5. In My Life
6. Where Is My Romeo
8. Let's Get Right Down To It
9. At All Times
10. It's Out Of My Heart
11. Needin' Someone
12. Independent Woman
13. Cappuccino & Bacon
14. Life Ain't Nothin' But A Party
15. Quien Es Tu Romeo