Today’s POP RESCUE from an unknown future, is the 1980 second album Let Me Be Your Angel by teenage American pop star Stacy Lattisaw. Will this album be a heavenly sound, or should you Jump up and leave the room? Read on…
This 8 track LP has pop songwriter and production svengali Narada Michael Walden at the helm, and opens with the lead single Jump To The Beat. This track drops straight in onto a wonderful sounding bass, percussion and brass filled intro building it up perfectly as Stacy’s vocals arrive. It is a perfect slice of pop, and is a great start to the fresh sound that a teenager in a new decade should be bringing. It’s a funky and catchy beginning to this album, aided partly in that it is fairly simple, and all instruments and Stacy get plenty of space to do their ting. The track gave her her debut hit in the UK, reaching #3 in the summer of 1980.
Next up is second single, Dynamite!. Once again, we’re straight in on the bass and brass, and this is a wonderful disco sound. Stacy’s vocals are at a higher register than in the previous song, and I’m reminded a little of the early Jackson 5 hits. It’s a catchy track though, and I could imagine a remix could have happily found itself a hit in the 00s. Sadly, this was the second and final single to chart in the UK from this album, stalling at #51. Stacy was robbed!
You Don’t Love Me Anymore ironically follows this. This is a more subdued track, although still carries the funky bass and brass stabs we’ve heard in the previous two songs. It doesn’t carry the same tempo and therefore the same kind of energy, and therefore doesn’t stand quite as strongly as the singles.
That’s followed by Dreaming, another ballad. The vocals are stronger here, although musically this mid-tempo song does sound like a stock ballad. Despite this, the song does build up, and Stacy shows off some really nice vocals. Backing vocalists and brass help to lift her and the track a little, but it’s a mellow ending to side one.
Side two opens with the titular Let Me Be Your Angel, and it’s another slow and tender-loving ballad. That said, the chorus brings up the pace and the vocals but it sounds like a mixture between a Christmas song and a teenage love song. The track takes a dramatic turn for the final chapter, giving Stacy some big vocals to deliver, and she does so perfectly.
Next it’s Don’t You Want To Feel It (For Yourself), and this sees the disco sound return. The tempo is back up, and the track is filled with whistles, bass, and brass. There’s some funky affected guitars that turn up at one point and instantly remind me of Sister Sledge‘s hit Thinking Of You, and then it comes as no surprise that Nile Rodgers is one of the guitarists here. There’s some big high vocals towards the end where Stacy seems a tiny bit stretched, but over all it’s a great song.
You Know I Like It follows that and we’re welcomed by a round of drums and a thick luxurious bass line. Chic instantly spring to mind, again thanks to more from Nile. Stacy delivers the track with great ease, and she’s complimented by some well placed (again, Chic-esque) minimal backing vocals in the verses. Thankfully that lovely bass gets a nice solo as the track re-builds itself, with some claps (i think), and then a surprise roaring electric guitar. The chorus, which by now is really quite catchy helps to take us to the end.
The album closes with My Love, and this starts off with some really lovely piano playing, after which Stacy arrives on the mic. It feels strange listening this song that includes her singing about “back in the days” and “..the child in me”, and having them so reflective, when in reality she was only 13 years old when this LP was released! To that end, it feels a bit weird as a full grown man listening to her singing about “lonely nights”, but as a song – it’s a lovely ending, even if it lyrically feels like a song a little beyond her years.
Over all, this album is a wonderfully funky and bright set of songs.
The album really does play on the disco sound that was sadly already in decline, and that is fuelled by the pop energy that Stacy brings to the lyrics.
Jump To The Beat is a flawless classic of a song, and listening to this now, with the knowledge that Australian singer Dannii Minogue would cover it in the early 1990s, it’s clear that her production team wanted to compliment it. Alongside that, Dynamite!, and You Know I Like It are the two other highlights here, and it’s a shame that the UK didn’t get to enjoy those.
My Love and You Don’t Love Me Anymore are the two lower points, even though they’re not that bad. In contrast to the rest of the album they’re a little more subdued and just stick out a little amongst the rest of the songs.
All in all, definitely worth a listen.
- POP RESCUE 2021 RATING: 4 / 5
- 1980 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: Did not chart.
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.50 from a Discogs.com seller.