Sister Sledge, We Are Family

As disco landmarks go, of course "He's The Greatest Dancer" and "We Are Family" (even at 8 minutes plus!) stand the test of time, as much because of Kathy Sledge's earnest vocals as Bernie Edwards and Nile Rodgers' carefully controlled production which prevents them from spiraling into self-parody. But at the same time the other semi-dance tracks like "Lost In Music" and "Easier To Love" seem suffocated by that restraint, as rich as their backing might be, and "You're A Friend To Me" is positively choked by the leash. The R&B influences play off stronger — "Thinking Of You" is a sultry delight — but there's not enough of it on the other tracks for them to benefit. Higher quality than most others around this time, it's hard to deny all the things that made it good, but if the production had let loose a little more it could have been great. The 1995 remaster has two absolutely potty B-side remixes of "We Are Family," destroying everything that made it enjoyable, and the first redo of "Lost In Music" is likewise a HiNRG dud. But its second 1984 remix, by Edwards and Rodgers themselves, while the overdubs are densely dumb does punch the bpm up just enough to really make it jam. Wonder if they'd just do that for the rest of it. (Content: no concerns.)