"I have also heard that this is one of Donna's personal favorites of her recordings. As well it should be - and the negative attention this album received is really a shame. Anyone who balks at the song selection or criticizes the style of music shouldn't be reviewing music - for what is here is extremely representative of the style of dance & pop at the time. The album should have been much better received than it was.
Supernatural Love was hyped up before it was even released! There Goes My Baby was a video on VH1 that STILL shows up from time to time. Donna won a Grammy for "Forgive Me" -
come on?! A bad album? No way!
Personal favorites: "It's Not The Way" "Cats Without Claws" "I'm Free" "Forgive Me"
Donna's voice had really started to slip into the mature Donna - which was a zillion times better than the young Donna - absolutely stunning voice, she has. This album gave a chance for her to really open it up on a few songs and take that puppy out on the road.
Her vocals in 'Forgive Me' are great - and for years when I heard this song I teared up because Donna's voice is awesome in it.
I recommend this album to anyone who wants to hear many different aspects of Donna's voice. I think you'd like it. "
Cats Without Claws, Still Can Bite!
KRA | East End of LI | 09/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Many of my favorite Donna Summer albums are the ones where she had a good amount of crative freedom to develop what she wanted.
As the liner notes state, David Geffen stayed "out of the kitchen" (for the most part), and he let Donna cook!
Produced by Michael Omartian, a man that Donna stated was as easy to work with as Giorgio, Cats has a decidedly 80's edge, with some tinges of Disco thrown in for good measure.
Like the She Works Hard For The Money album (also produced by Omartian), Cats contains a number of "message" songs that reflected Donna's embrachment of her faith, I'm Free, It's Not The Way, Suzanna amoung them. However Donna's approach to these songs and the one of a kind diversity of her voice lead them to have a Pop sensibility, and on many ways laid the groundwork for Amy Gran't venture into secular music.
Supernatural Love, Oh Billy Please, and Eyes were great up to the minute 80's Pop/Dance songs, that frankly should have been the single picks for this release. her update to the Drifter's Classic There Goes My Baby, was OK, and in fact became a Top 30 song for her, but this cover can not hold a candle to her original songs on this record. Rumor was that There Goes My Baby was Mr. Geffen's idea, enough said.
Maybe It's Over was the ballad here, and considering that Donna and Bruce almost called it quits early in '83, I can see where her pastionate delivery came from. For the flip side to this story, Love Has A Mind Of It's Own, from the She Works hard...album, was written by Bruce as a lets stay together song.
An interesting side note is that Cats continued the Geffen era "policy" of having an unreleased track as a 'B" side single. In this case it's the great Dance Song, Face The Music. Why this track is not on the album is beyond me, but it was featured as the "B" side to the single of Supernatural Love.
Finally the beautiful spiritual song, Forgive Me, rounds out the album (and gave Donna her 4th Grammy). This song was part of her 1983 Tour, and was a pasionate highlight.
Why did Cats..not become a mega seller?, I think there were a few reasons inlcuding the continued backlash against Disco Artists, at the time of it's release Madonna was just starting to hit her stride, and the idiotic rumor that Donna has endured since 1983 kept her most pasionate fan base (Gay Men) from fully trumpeting this great album.
The time is now for Universal to release a remastered version of this opus, with Face The Music, included."
CD is available!
Nse Ette | Lagos, Nigeria | 08/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"`Cats without claws' was a continuation of Donna Summer's 80s experimentation. Produced by Michael Omartian, it was the follow up to the hit `She works hard for the money' also produced by Omartian.
The album featured a diverse array of musical styles; Rock, Pop, R&B and gospel.
The album made the US top 40 and the song `Forgive me' won Donna her second Grammy for best inspirational (Gospel) song. Not bad at all.
Opening track `Supernatural love' is a rock/dance number which had a great video and features Summer belting out to a staccato of drums, heavy synths and lashings of vocoder.
`It's not the way' is an energetic rock/R&B dance song featuring some of her most soulful vocals to date.
The lead off single was the delicate syhthesized remake of the Drifter's hit `There goes my baby which made #21 in the US. Featuring Donna really pouring out her heart (really belting out) against a forlorn synthesizer backdrop, and mournful backing vocoder. Awesome! Also featuring a fab video available on `20th Century Masters - The Best of Donna Summer: The DVD Collection' (see my review).
`Suzanna' is a slight Caribbean tinged number with a very precise delivery from Donna.
Title track `Cats without claws' is a mysterious sound effect laden pop/rock number with very creative lyrics which I still can't fathom to date, LOL! Featuring excellent do wop-ish backing vocals to a rocking beat.
My absolute favourite song is the brilliant `Oh Billy please', a rock/dance number. Very catchy and powerful vocals and fantastic guitar work. The dying minute features Donna's voice dueling with the guitars. Needs to be heard to be believed.
Next up is the mid tempo psychedelic rocker `Eyes' featuring a lower register half spoken delivery from Donna against a shimmery guitar/synth backdrop. Another standout.
`Maybe its over' is a beautiful ballad where Donna gets to really belt out about a romance which has come to a sad end. It sounds similar to her 70s Casablanca ballads. It was actually penned by Donna in the 70s for her backing group Sunshine (comprising her sisters).
`I'm free' is yet another stellar performance. A semi calypso R&B number with excellent percussion, delicate echo-ey falsetto, and backing vocoder. With lyrics reflecting her Christianity. Excellent.
Closing track is the gospel piano ballad `Forgive me', featuring a really passionate delivery from Donna.
The CD artwork is also very colorful and arty, with Donna trying, in an abstract way, to portray the image of a cat.
For those wondering if this brilliant album was ever issued on CD, yes it was. I own one. Found it on [...]
Highly under rated album, but vital to any Summer collection. "
Nse Ette | 07/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Does anyone know if this album is out of print? I would like to have this album on CD if possible. This album goes great with other Donna albums. There Goes My Baby and Supernatural Love were hits while Forgive Me won her a Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance. For this reason alone, I give it 4 stars.Obviously, most people will not rank this album very high because of her huge '70s albums and because this is gospel-flavored. Music critics like to shun anything gospel. That's really a shame! This album deserves a second-chance listen!"
Donna tries a different sound with great results
Raul Castanon | Lynn, MA United States | 12/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Donna Summer's less "commercial" albums. It is not one of her best sellers but definitely worth looking for. Released on the Geffen label in the mid-80's, Donna makes a dramatic departure from her trademark "disco" days at Casablanca and goes for a fresh new sound. It includes songs that showcase her vocal ability like "It's Not the Way", "Oh Billy Please" and "Forgive Me", for which she won a Grammy (Inspirational). My favorites are "I'm Free" and "Maybe It's Over". The album has a sound that is distinctively 80's but at the same time is very original.It is rumored among Donna fans that this album is one of her favorites. There are many rarities associated with this album such as extended versions, special mixes and unreleased songs.If you are looking for standard Donna songs, I recommend the "Anthology" or "Journey" compilations, however, if you are looking to explore a different side of Donna, this album has a few songs that are well worth looking for."