1. Nasty Girl
2. Wet Dream
3. He’s So Dull
4. If A Girl Answers (Don’t Hang Up)
5. Make Up
6. Bite The Beat
7. 3 X 2 = 6
Format: VBR V0 MP3
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So late in the 1970s, this guy (we’ll call him “That Guy” for this and the subsequent entries published today) from Minneapolis quietly entered the music scene, and without warning, took the music business by storm in the first years of the 1980s. The influence was felt all through the R&B and funk landscape, as whole full-service bands were being scrapped in favor of new, exciting technology including polyphonic synthesizers and a more distinct, prominent rock edge to the songs.
In 1982, a curious trio headed by a stunning woman with an unusual name appeared with a song bearing the hallmarks of That Guy from Minneapolis — Vanity 6. Vanity, the namesake of the trio, was born Denise Matthews, and legend has it, that That Guy lured her into his employ during his time as an opening act for Rick James, one of the many catalysts for a long (and entertaining feud) between artists. Rounding out the trio was That Guy’s former girlfriend Susan Moonsie and tough-girl vocal anchor Brenda Bennett.
The result was an eponymous album that, like the man behind the curtain’s own music, deftly walk the lines between synthesized pop, new wave, funk, rock, and R&B — sounding very much like That Guy in the midst of his “1999” run and another act associated with That Guy, The Time (in fact, The Time was given sleeve credit for all the music contained within this record; in live shows, they also played the music behind pink curtains, so as not to be seen). “Nasty Girl” is the absolute must-have from this set. It’s the one song, that if anyone who is familiar with Vanity is asked, will likely mention. With its racy lyrics, and signature “Minneapolis” sound, it will inspire repeat listens.
The rest of the album is more of a mixed bag; “Make Up”, though an entertaining listen, sounds much like an experiment, down to Susan’s droning (but perfectly matched) vocal. “If A Girl Answers” is a hilarious back-and-forth funk number featuring a rewind-worthy rap from Brenda (and That Guy making a cameo in vocal drag, that may have been credited to Terry Lewis). “Bite The Beat” (a composition credited to Jesse Johnson) is a “Controversy” Era-esque ’50s-rock-turned-’80s number with Brenda on lead vocal and a sneaky, eyebrow-raising lyric (That Guy was good for that). The closer “3 X 2 = 6” is a sneaky reference to breasts (namely the 6 of the women of the band), so it’s said; it sounds like a cut-rate version of songs like That Guy’s “Free” from 1999. Overall, Vanity is the main attraction, and her careful adherence to her entertaining, on-record persona is why this album seems to remain hovering in the cloud around 1999.
There were plans for a sequel to this album, but Vanity’s exodus from Purple Music, Inc. put a serious cramp in those plans. Songs, such as “Vibrator” from those sessions exist (elements were used on other albums by That Guy to boot); but the majority of them were shelved until a replacement for Vanity could be found…