Saturday, 11 June 2011

Donna Dummer - Shout It Out (1987)

It's a bit of a bummer that my first Donna Summer review is an album of second-rate material. Material recorded in the early 70s and remixed for an 80s pop-dance audience, the main frustration of Shout It Out lies in the formula of echo-effect choruses and the odd attention-worthy verse that allows Summer's powerful voice the chance to splinter through the dance-identified production.

If it was good enough for pre-PWL Bananarama, Na Na Hey Hey will do just fine with someone who can actually sing. Taking a costume change and a half to get going, Donna eventually shows up on her own album, sounding distorted and decidedly spooky. Verse two is a stronger, clearer attempt to sound like any effort is being made to connect the singer to an actual audience. The brave hearted They Can't Take Away Our Music is sadly not the rave-hearted belter I was hoping for. Soppy, synth-gleaming and downbeat, Donna supplies a dreamy wail "from deep within" but this is rather overwrought and ostentatious. Summer soars on the verses, but the chorus is choma-inducing. Mediocre tracks like Jeanie, Little Marie, Back of Boogaloo and Shout It Out get nowhere fast, and are so repetitive in their formulaic structure that they warrant little discussion. Nice To See You could almost be Grace Jones (before Grace Jones was amazing). An odd, often frustrating experience. The album sounds like something Donna Summer just happened to take part in rather than a fully-fledged solo album.


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