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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 8, 1984)
Monday, October 8, 1934
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Review By Ward Triplet III
Daily Nebr&skan Senior Editor
It has been a tough life hanging onto someone else's
success and bing able to pick up royalty checks you
really have little claim to.
That was the case with Vanity 6, a girl group started
and kept two years ago by Prince. The only album was a
one-hit wonder spurred by the provocative album cover
and a few Penthouse Forum lyrics. They couldn't sing,
couldn't dance and were saved on stage by the gimmick
of wearing only lingerie.
Nov it's showtime again for Vanity 6, only several
changes have been made. Prince, of course, is no longer a
brooding genius. Now, thanks to "Purple Rain" he's an
international star. Vanity, a Canadian who went by D.D.
Winters in her short and undistinguished career, split
the group before "Purple Rain" was made. That opened
the way for Appollonia, who did show up on film, and
consequently, Appollonia 6.
As a result of all this, you now have two mildly inter
esting but silly albums instead of one.
Courtesy cf th Starr Company
First of all, Vanity's album, Wild Animal, is the better
of the two since it does show some signs of life beyond
Prince. Still she has the same Prince mentality of "if you
can't say something nasty, dont say anything at all,"
which spawns the semi-hit "Pretty Mess."
Appollonia 6 will probably sell better however, because
of the brief exposure in "Purple Rain," and its still very
real connection to the star himself.
But there's not much to recommend in Appollonia 6
that you don't have if youVe already got the "Purple Rain"
soundtrack or The Time's "Ice Cream Castles." The
music attributed to Sheila E. and the Revolution is com
paritively lackluster, the lyrics uninspired by anything
that seems to motivate Prince or The Time, and vocally,
they couldn't compete with street corner warblers,
much less any professional artists.
To describe the content best, think of it as the stuff
Prince rejected for his own albums. He then reworked
the lyrics to say what he apparently wishes women
would think, then gave it to these three pretty (?) faces
to choke themselves on.
Prince isn't given anymore writing credit hers, Appol
lonia is. But it seems kind of strange that someone who
was hired after a casting call could write the same kind
of stuff Prince does. Nevertheless, the women of Appol
lonia 6 are stood up, knocked up and hard up through
out the album, but never express the slightest anger or
even disgust with the thoughtless men who are abusing
them. Sounds a lot like the Prince philosophy that
shewed through "Purple Rain" to me.
Ironically though, Appollonia does a stronger, more
confident and compelling vocal job at the front of the
group than Vanity did. And the chats between tracks on
the second side are at least interesting since you have to
wonder why any producer would want them there. Plus,
like Prince's own albums, when it finds the dance groove
it likes, it plays it to death. So, chances are. if the lyrics
don't offend you and you can pick up one beat her e and
there, (and be swayed by the five pictures included in
. the album) Appollonia 6 may not be that bad a deal for
Vanity risked a quick fade into obscurity by bucking
her group for Motown records. But she found a Prince
like musician there in the person of Bill Wolper, who
wrote and plays all the music, while Vanity wrote the
lyrics and sings.
Vanity didn't shake Prince all together, but the advan
tage of getting off the Minneapolis sound bandwagon is
that it does allow some room for growth. While the first
side is played pretty safe with the double synthesizers,
single grooves, etc., the second is actually pretty good
with the African-inspired "King Kong" and "Mechanical
Emotion," the only track on which her high, aimless
vocals really work. She whispers, groans and sighs
through the rest, which, depending on your tolerance
for such, is either slightly sexy or horribly annoying.
Wolper isnt as captivating a musician as Prince, but at
least Vanity is getting his best, unlike the retreads her
former friends haw. But is it worth buying? Probably
not, because even with the second half surge, you will
likely forget this in the face of stronger competition.
Vanity has at least, made some inroads to a future. If
Appollonia 6 doesn't score now, this could be the last we
hear of them. After all, they are a blatant commercial
venture. They arent serious artists, so if they don't sell,
there's utterly no reason for them to be around. Vanity's
album indicates that there might be an artist lurking
underneath that cryptic look somewhere.
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