|All Artists: Jody Watley|
Title: Larger Than Life
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 9
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Pop, R&B
Styles: Dance Pop, Soul
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 0076732627624, 076732627617, 076732627624
Larger Than Life
Genres: Pop, R&B
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A Landmark album!!!!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Larger Than Life is the only cohesive, intelligent album to come out of the dreck of 80's dance-pop. That is due in part to the skillful production of Andre Cymone, but it is mostly a testament to the fabulousity of Jody Watley. From the ruins of Shalamar, Miss Watley rose to a fame as a solo artist that far exceeded her previous success as 1/3 of her former group. None of her contemporaries (i.e. Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Pebbles, Taylor Dayne, etc.) could touch Miss Watley for sheer diva attitude. Down to earth in real life, Watley was very convincing as the imperious diva on vinyl. While Miss Jackson was just playing around with "What Have You Done For Me Lately", Watley was dead serious when she took it a step further and asked "What'cha Gonna Do For Me". The majestic introduction of "Lifestyle" does little to prepare you for the pulsating, wildly infectious beat that overtakes you seconds later. "Friends" was one of the first pairings of a singer and a rapper, and it is no less a rapper than Rakim, the godfather of east coast rap. Though today a pairing such as this is common, when I first heard Jody's sultry croon meshed with Rakim's blistering flow, it was a revelation. Jody gets down and funky on the midtempo "For Love's Sake", its slow groove caressing her surprisingly soulful vocal. "Once You Leave" (. . . you can't come back!) finds Jody once again artfully dismissing a wayward lover. All of this just served as a prelude for the true masterpiece in this collection: throwing down the gauntlet on the mind-blowing "Real Love" (i.e. "Gotta have the real thing!"). The unrelenting beat, the easy-to-learn chorus and a whole heap of Jody Watley attitude were the makings of a classic. It didn't hurt that the stunningly beautiful Watley came up with a video as compelling as the song. While she has grown substantially as a musician and vocalist, Jody has not managed to recapture the magic of this CD. However, she did manage to cap the decade of greed with a genre-defining moment in pop history."
Real love, everybody needs one-gotta have real love
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 08/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Given how Andre Cymone's production really gave her debut album a real kick, including her single "Looking For A New Love," it's no surprise then that she had Cymone produce and help with songwriting on the entirety of her sophomore effort, Larger Than Life, which shifted the danceable R&B, funky bass, and heavy instrumentation that made her big into new jack gear. And her debut single, the bass-heavy "Real Love" with its heavy synth riffs, is an example of that, and is merely not "Looking For A New Love Part II."
Yet, fate has cruel a way of repeating itself. "Real Love" was another #2 pop hit, but an R&B chart-topper. The culprit this time was fellow dancemeister Paula Abdul with "Forever Your Girl." There was no way "Real Love" could've failed to top. Still, another outstanding Watley song. And like "Looking For A New Love," there is an extended version of the single, with the repeated "ohh ohh ahh" refrain, brisk horns, and some excerpts from "New Love" included.
She gets help from Eric B & Rakim on "Friends," on how some people pretend to be friends, and how it's hard to find friends due to jealousy, envy, and the fact that friends often won't tell what they're thinking. As she sings, "Friends will let you down, friends won't be around. You need them most of all friends. Friends are hard to find, friends yours and mine." This #9 danceable pop hit, featuring some old school scratching, really tells it like it is.
Then comes the #4 ballad "Everything" and she doesn't do too bad a job here, on the only song not written by Watley and Cymone. The other ballad she does here, "Only You," has brief keyboards bursts akin to Spandau Ballet's "True" and either ballad would've done great as a single despite her lack of range. No, she's still got a smoky and sexy ambience whenever she sings ballads, and that's good too.
Examples of the energetic higher gear of dance include "What'cha Gonna Do For Me" with its overlapping drum machines, synths, and the shouted "what! what!" before the title is sung. However, the mid-paced ballad "Precious Love" stalled at #87 and given the other songs here, isn't a singleworthy candidate. Why not "Lifestyle," which starts with some slow Giorgio Moroder-like synths before boom!, going into high gear dance with those catchy drums and synths combo? It's a party in full swing, this song. Or why not the equally vivacious "Once You Leave"? "Come Into My Life" with its initial pounding percussion beats and funky bass instrumentation is yet another single candidate.
There are a few filler tracks in the midsection, but it comes back to life beginning with "Something New." Yet the album is more polished and skilled than her debut, and Larger Than Life shows an artist and producer tightening things and ratcheting the dance rhythms to a higher gear while still in the non-techno zone.
Jody's Best moment
tom | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 10/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jody Watley was one of the most popular singers in the late 80s. "Larger Than Life" was her sophomore solo album, and it was just as good, if not better, than her debut album. Watley was at her best with funky, R&B dance grooves. This album had a number of killer grooves, including "Real Love", "Whatcha Gonna Do For Me", "Lifestyle", and "Once You Leave". Her pairing with rappers Eric B and Rakim set the standard for R&B singer/rapper pairings (ie. Beyonce and Jay-Z on "Crazy In Love") and her ballad, "Everything" was the sole ballad hit in Watley's career. Unlike many other 80s artists, Watley's music has aged well. If you are interested in checking out her catalogue, I recommend trying this first."