Today’s Pop Rescue from an uncertain fate is the 1987 debut eponymous album Jody Watley by American singer Jody Watley. Will this album be ‘Wat’ you’re Looking For, or has the Thrill gone? Read on….
This 9 track LP opens on ‘Vibe One’ (Side One) with a toot of a car and voices in the street as Jody hails a cab in the intro of Looking For A New Love. A space-y synth leads us into a bouncing hard beat with synth stabs and samples. Jody is swiftly on the mic and her vocals sit perfectly on top of this, commanding attention. She gets a great set of opportunities to show off her vocal power and range here, and at times I can hear echoes of Janet Jackson. This great start to the album was also a great start to her UK singles, charting at #13 when it was released as the lead single.
Then it’s a load of bass for a funky Still A Thrill. This song sees Jody get some much lower register vocals, and she sounds rich and soulful here, and just as comfortable as with the previous song. The funkiness reigns throughout giving us an almost sultry track. Unfortunately, the song failed to thrill the UK, and it stumbled at #77.
Some Kind Of Lover follows that, and it seems to combine pop perfection, with saxophone, and funkiness too. Here, Jody seems to flitter through the vocals with great ease, with plenty of big notes to grab. This is a great pop song, and it saw it become the album’s fourth single, but sadly it flopped in at #88 in the UK chart.
Vibe One closes with For The Girls, and we’re treated to some loud snare beats and some cow bell before the synths hop in. The chorus is pretty catchy ‘so wine me, so dine me’ she sings, and dedicates is repeatedly ‘for the girls’. It’s a bright little song that bounces along perfectly.
Love Injection begins ‘Vibe Two’ (Side Two) and it’s a mysterious creeping start. The dramatic synth bursts, and the off-key bass line all give it that air, and Jody’s higher vocals in the chorus helps to lift the mood of the song. Once again, it’s another catchy track.
Similarly Don’t You Want Me also bounces along perfectly, and the thick bass, hard snare, and repetitive synths act as a nice contrast to Jody’s loved-up soft vocals. She cheekily name checks Looking For A New Love here. Despite this song being really nice, it stalled in the UK, where it reached #55.
That’s followed by Do It To The Beat, and this sees Jody pitched against an almost chugging synth and guitar, as a simple beat leads us through. There’s momentary echoes of Get Into The Groove here courtesy of a synth, but it’s fleeting, and then we’re into quite a lot of instrumental track as an organ sound goes crazy to some percussion.
Most Of All follows that and we’re welcomed by an upbeat song, complete with guitar riffs, light pop vocals from Jody, and a busy beat. This was the album’s final and fifth single (seemingly a remix), but it doesn’t seem to have received a release in the UK. Probably wasn’t worth it given the UK’s attitude to the previous singles.
Then it’s Learn To Say No, and this gives us an amazingly funky track, sounding very much like it’s recorded with a life full band. I wasn’t expecting it but it’s a duet with George Michael, who of course performs here perfectly. His contrast to Jody’s vocals work very well, and Jody can match him with power and range.
Over all, this album is a fun up-beat album, but sadly hugely underrated in the UK despite the actual quality of singles and the inclusion of George Michael on the closing track. I guess 1987’s UK audience were looking the other way.
Some Kind Of Lover is the highlight here, but there are plenty of very close contenders too, with Looking For A New Love, and Don’t You Want Me hot on its tail. The lowest point is probably Do It To The Beat, but even then this track is pretty alright.
It’s a shame that this album and it’s singles didn’t achieve much success in the UK, and this album’s lowly charting position is unjustified. It’s a slick and well produced album, and Jody puts in a fantastic pop performance throughout. Definitely let this album wander into your ears.
- POP RESCUE 2023 ALBUM RATING: 4 / 5
- 1987 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #62
- POP RESCUE COST: £2.95 from a Discogs.com seller.