Review: “Special Things” by Pointer Sisters (Vinyl, 1980)

Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the 1980 7th album Special Things by American sibling trio Pointer Sisters. Should this album have a Special place in your collection, or should you point blank refuse it? Read on…

Pointer Sisters – Special Things (1980) album.

Side One of this nine track LP opens with second single Could I Be Dreaming, which sounds like it has come straight from Michael Jackson‘s Off The Wall album. Anita Pointer takes the lead here, and she does it fantastically. The result is an upbeat and uplifting disco track which definitely deserved its single release.

Next up is the album’s lead single He’s So Shy. Again, it’s another great little disco pop song. It’s fairly simple, but with June’s vocal over the top, it flows with great ease from verse to catchy chorus and back again. The keyboard section (which gets a solo) from songwriter Tom Slow are a wonderful slice of early 80s electronic sound.

That’s followed by the slower The Love Too Good To Last. This returns Anita to the mic, for this song which boasts co-writers Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. This allows the Sisters to show off some of their softer vocals, more tender singing along with vocal harmonies that you won’t hear again until En Vogue.

We’re back to some deliciously funky brass and bass in the song Evil. June is back on the mic, and she gets to duel with the slightly menacing sound perfectly. If this song, complete with the electric guitar solo, isn’t on a film soundtrack then I’ll be very disappointed. It would have been perfect for Austin Powers 2.

Side One closes with Save This Night For Love, which opens with a nice mellow mid-tempo beat. The Sisters compliment each other perfectly here in their harmonies. The chorus is catchy, underscored by sweeping strings and disco beat.

We’ve Got The Power leads us into Side Two, and we’re safely into a great little disco track. June aptly shows off her vocal power here, with the handclaps, brass, and strings sections all coming together to really make this all sound like a classic disco anthem. They do indeed have ‘the power’ here, and it’s a great start to the second half.

Next up is Where Did The Time Go, which opens with some beautiful tinkling piano. This leads us to a simple gentle beat and lovely vocal harmonies. At times I hear feint echoes of ABBA here, but the vocals are unmistakably Pointer Sisters.

That’s followed by the Anita written title track Special Things. This track gives us a Latin sound due to the increased percussion from Brazilian Paulinho da Costa. Anita gets to sing her creation, and she does it with great ease, backed with her sisters in harmonies that help lift her vocals even higher. It’s a nice track, but not one of the catchier ones here.

The album closes with a cover of The Sons Of Champlin’s 1976 single, Here Is Where Your Love Belongs. The track which opens with some sultry bass and 80’s Obligatory Saxophone comes from the expertise of Don Myrick of Earth, Wind & Fire. It’s a slow loving number, and it forms a nice warm ending to this album.

Pointer Sisters’ lead single ‘He’s So Shy’ from 1980.

Verdict

Over all, this album is as you’d expect from The Pointer Sisters – the vocals are flawless, and each of the three sisters get their star turns (Ruth only once though).

The tide of disco flows strong throughout this album, which helps to keep it fun, bright, upbeat, and warm, even in the slower tracks, and the sinister Evil.

Whilst the Sisters are better known for their mid-80’s electronic synth pop hits (Jump, I’m So Excited etc), this album really showcases how easily they can adapt from one departing disco genre, into the pop dominance that came next.

Could I Be Dreaming, He’s So Shy, Evil, and We’ve Got The Power are all highlights here, with Special Things and Here Is Where… being the weaker ones. It’s definitely a delight that you should hear, and it’s a shame that the UK didn’t get a whiff of this album at all.

Rated 4 stars - You're missing a treat!
  • POP RESCUE 2021 RATING: 4 / 5
  • 1980 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: Did not chart in UK.
  • POP RESCUE COST: £5.00 from a Discogs.com seller.

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