hello!—I have been a very big fan of LC for a long time. I have most if not all of their releases and cd-singles with bonus tracks. the remastering job has improved the sound–the bonus tracks are fine–but basically unneeded. I have all of them on different recording –so it is no big deal for me–but the casual fan will enjoy the additions. a few more pictures and liner notes to help you learn more about the band. I am unsure as to why EPIC-LEGACY wanted to put this product out(GREED) or how many dedicated fans will want to shell out for things they probably already have in their collections(like me). in summation, LIVING COLOUR is a truely talented band with great musicianship, topical lyrics and a knack for writing good songs. those who have never heard of this wonderful inspired work or have never listened to any of LC music—THIS IS WHERE IT STARTS!!!!!
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
I think this is a great album. I already had the original and bought the remaster hoping to have the sound spruced up a bit. However, it sounds worse than the original. The bass is muddy and overbearing, the highs sound muffled, and its got to be by far the loudest CD I now own. If you have the original, stay with it. If not, then I suggest you find one.
I have an original 1988 CBS Records version of this disc, manufactured by EPIC Records. It’s a great album that I consider a “Classic”. When I saw that a remastered version was being offered, with bonus tracks, I decided to pick it up. I appreciate the upgraded sound quality. The lower end is greatly enhanced. Now you can easily hear just how well Muzz Skillings was playing those great, funky bass-lines.
Just to let everybody know, the song What’s Your Favorite Color? (Theme Song) has been chopped on the remastered version down to about 1:44. The first time I listened to it, I thought my cd player had skipped to the next track prematurely! The original version was 3:55 and contained twice the lyrics plus another bridge. So… if you buy the remaster, don’t get rid of that old copy before you decide to keep it for that one older “full-length” track.
Living Colour is a band whose appearance gets more attention than their music– being the “all black” heavy metal group seems to be more critical to the press and publicity folks than anything else. Indeed, the cover of this reissue bears a sticker that reads “the groundbreaking rap/rock fusion album”, which leads me to believe entirely that the person who put that sticker on there had never actually heard Living Colour before.
Living Colour grew out of the Black Rock Coalition– an organization started by (among others) guitarist Vernon Reid for black musicians interested in playing rock music. Reid, British born but a longtime New York resident, was well known on the downtown New York jazz scenes courtesy of his tenure in Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society. An guitarist of unnerving technique and speed, he assembled a number of bands under the name Living Colour before settling on this quartet– bassist Muzz Skillings, drummer Will Calhoun (both graduates of the Berklee School of Muisc) and vocalist Corey Glover (who Reid met at a birthday party and was suitably impressed with a rendition of “Happy Birthday”). In Skillings and particularly Calhoun, Reid had a rhythm section with the ability to express themselves in dozens of forms, and in Glover he had a vocalist who could produce depths of soul or rage upon demand. Somehow Mick Jagger became hip to them, and the result was a deal with Sony and their debut album, “Vivid”.
Essentially an album of extraordinarily well executed hard rock music– with more in common with Led Zeppelin than contemporary “metal” acts, “Vivid” is a fantastic debut. What makes the album is the level of subtlety in the music– take hit song “Cult of Personality”– essentially riff-based rock, it’s so well executed that you barely notice the rhythm guitar drops out during Reid’s solo as Skillings managed to fill the space. But while the opener is a slab of hard rock, the band moves through soulful metal (the unbelievable “Open Letter to a Landlord”), great rock (“Middle Man”), fantastic love songs (“I Want to Know”), funk (“Funny Vibe”) and the Talking Heads (“Memories Can’t Wait”). Along the way, the band tackles topics as politics (“Cult of Personality”), housing (“Open Letter…”), racism (“Funny Vibe”) and the failure of the American dream (“Which Way to America?”). The album’s not altogether flawless– “Middle Man” lacks the energy it’d carry live, “What’s Your Favorite Color?” was a spectacularly bad idea, and I’m one of the folks who just can’t deal with glitzy pop song “Glamour Boys”, but there’s so much good on here, it’s easy to forget.
This reissue is augmented by a series of bonus tracks– a couple live performances, a performance of “Funny Vibe” featuring a full rap vocal, and a stunning cover of the Clash classic “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”. In addition, it benefits vastly from remastering with extraordinarily enhanced sound.
Living Colour did better albums, but this one is no slouch, and probably the best place to begin examining their career. Recommended.
The liner notes on this remaster make references to later-era “rap/metal hybrids” like Rage Against the Machine and Linkin Park. Stylistically, this debut record from one of the most successful all-Black rock bands owes more to the funk and punk and Bad Brains and Red Hot Chili Peppers than to Run DMC or Public Enemy. Here’s a song-by-song review:1. Cult of Personality. Unless you were living under a rock in 1989, you know this signature tune and hard rock classic – the powerful vocals of Corey Glover, the metal/jazz guitar explosion, the Zepplenesque drumming.2. I Want to Know. If there is a single weak track on this record, it is this very simple pop-rock tune.3. Middle Man. Although often forgotten, this funky rocker was actually the first single and breakthrough to rock radio.4. Desparate People. A dose of punk, an lyrical omage to Led Zeppelin, and a whole lotta hard rock make this one a live staple.5. Open Letter (to a Landlord). This was one of their breakthrough hits, a social commentary backed up by simple balladry versus punk sensibilities.6. Funny Vibe. On comes the tongue-in-cheek funk with “social commentary” by Chuck D and Flava Flav.7. Memories Can’t Wait. The fact that they would cover Talking Heads on their debut is not so suprising given their CBGBs background, but the blistering guitar work is shockingly good.8. Broken Hearts. With a little help from their friends (Mick Jaggar on harmonica), the band combines the blues with some hip-hop beats.9. Glamour Boys. As perhaps the most infectious hit from the summer of 1989, on this one, they combine elements of reggae, funk, and metal and a little help from Mick Jaggar (who contributed background vocals and production).10. What’s Your Favorite Colour? Clocking in at under 2 minutes, this is simply the funky theme song for the band and is just fun filler.11. Which Way to America? A heavy-handed bass line drives the indicting lyrics into your conciousness as a perfect end to the original record.Although I am not usually a big fan of remixes, the remix of “Funny Vibe” one, accompanied by additional production of Prince Paul and a horn section, is arguably better than the original. Furthermore, having seen them do this metal/punk laden Clash cover tune, “Should I Stay or Should I Go”, on their first tour, I was glad to see it on the first single from their second record and it is a welcome addition here. The other bonus tracks (remix of “What’s Your Favorite Color” and live versions of “Middle Man” and “Cult of Personality”) are disposable.Overall, this is a great package, and comparing it to the original CD release, benefits from remastering. I just hope Epic sees fit to do the same justice to their second record, ‘Time’s Up’ (1990), which yielded classics “Love Rears Its Ugly Head” and “Solace of You”.