Today’s POP RESCUE is the 1990 hit third album Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em by MC Hammer. Has this album nailed it, or just another DIY disaster? Read on…
There will be few who can claim that they’ve never heard the big hit U Can’t Touch This which catapulted MC Hammer into international stardom.
Just as many of you, are likely to remember those incredibly baggy trousers that he wore in his videos (see below).
But what is the rest of the album like?
He did release at least 4 more singles from this 13 track album, before moving on to his next one the following year.
The album opens with a pretty tuneless, dated, abomination of a track – Here Comes The Hammer. It’s worth skipping over. For some reason, this was the fourth single.
Thankfully, the big hit U Can’t Touch This follows it, and that is truly a stroke of genius. This is then followed by a later single, and cover, of Have You Seen Her, which is a credible cover, but nothing like the big hit single.
Sadly, we’re back into the danger zone, with Yo!! Sweetness, which is a pretty bad track, but curiously contains the Barry White lyric line (‘your sweetness is my weakness’) that fares better when it turns up later as the main chorus of Michelle Gayle‘s hit Sweetness.
Help The Children might sound like a cringeworthy song title, reserved for Michael Jackson, but this track actually works well, and it borrows (with credit) from Marvin Gaye and his track Mercy, Mercy Me. All I could imagine though, was Robert Palmer’s version.
On Your Face is pretty unforgettable, as is Dancin’ Machine – although the latter does open with rapping about ‘the boom’, which feels mildly modern, and also feels like it echoes a bit of James Brown once it gets going.
Pray, the album’s third single, which makes use of a sample from Prince‘s When Doves Cry, resulting in quite a nice track that mixes rap, DJ scratching, and a gospel choir. It certainly feels at home on this album.
Track Crime Story, laden with sirens and gunshot, feels like someone discovered their Yamaha keyboard’s sound effects bank. As track progresses, Hammer turns to some thought-leadership lyrics, instructing his ‘brothers’ to let kids go to school and learn, rather than turn to crime.
She’s Soft And Wet is home to the other Prince writing credit, lifting from his own track Soft And Wet. It’s not very good – clammy is a better description for this track.
Black Is Black sees Hammer singing his advice directly to black youth, but musically, the track sounds very dated now. Let’s Go Deeper and Work This bring the album to the end, but to be honest, all three of these last tracks could have been snipped, and we’d be no better off.
There is in effect, four cover versions here, which is where the co-writing credits with none other than Prince come from.
Despite the excitement that the big hit lead single earned him, there’s little else here that really captures that same innovation and interest. Have You Seen Her is good, but despite Prince’s involvement, MC Hammer’s lyrics lets it down.
Sorry Hammer, Hammer Time is over.
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 2 / 5
- 1990 UK CHART POSITION: #8, and certified 2x Platinum.
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.00 (from a Poundland store)