Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm a Fire

Song: I’m a Fire
Artist: Donna Summer
Album: Crayons

It’s easy, when you weren’t there (or were just too young to really care) but to miss some major moments in music history. Sure I knew various Donna Summer songs growing up (as “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls,” “She Works Hard for the Money,” and “On the Radio” were hard to miss) but I honestly didn’t realize how BIG she really was. She still holds many sales records, and with the release of her first album in 17 years, “Crayons” last month she broke another one, as the first artist ever to have a #1 Billboard Dance hit in each of the past four decades.

It wasn’t until I started getting into dance music that I really got to understand how much Summers’ music has been an influence on modern electronica. “I Feel Love” alone has been sampled and covered so much since it’s release, it’s arguably the most well known electronic song ever. It holds up today, and I honestly can’t imagine hearing it way back then… it must have been just mind-blowing.

It had occurred to me, with the release of Madonna’s new album, (and subsequent backlash for being “too old” to be doing that type of music) that we don’t really have any examples within pop music of someone with that type of longevity, still doing it today. But Summers certainly came first, and after seventeen years off the charts, the question is… what type of music is Summers doing? Should she be doing Rod Stewart type standards? No, Summers has decided to do a little bit of everything. “Crayons” (AWFUL album title) if filled with R&B, house tunes, mild hip hop, and dance. It’s quite a mix, and while some of it is a little goofy for my taste, I’ve been enjoying a good chunk of it, especially the house flavored “I’m a Fire,” which was produced by Sebastian Arocha Morton. That was her latest #1 Dance track, which marks her fourteenth number one on various Billboard charts.

Summers has always had a big gay following, and met with controversy when it was reported that she made some anti-gay comments in the 80’s. (Which coincided with a gospel release) Coincidence or not, her career took a hit, and hadn’t really recovered since. With “Crayons” Summers is certainly aiming for gay fans old and new, (she’s done a bunch of gay press for the release of the record) and it wasn’t until my research for this album did I learn that Summers has always denied the negative comments to the community. Bygones baby!


Performing “Stamp Your Feet” on the American Idol Finale

I Feel Love

On The Radio

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