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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, May 23, 2006
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The second biggest album of her career, a #2 smash from 1980-now remastered and priced to thrill! Her infectious #1 pop hit Upside Down is joined by I'm Coming Out (#5 pop hit) and the rest of the original album. Undeniably one of Diana's all-time best.
Perhaps Ms. Ross's most indispensable solo work, the 1980 Diana hooks her up with the Chic organization and eight good to really, really great songs for a disc that glows with rhythm and good feeling. The Boss herself has rarely sounded finer, as Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers seem to anticipate just what she can do vocally and aim the music at the bull's-eye. One bets that Debbie Harry wished she'd gotten hold of the sassy "Give Up" for her own Edwards/Rodgers-helmed KooKoo. --Rickey Wright
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Diana did the right thing by remixing the album with Russ Terrana--especially on "Upside Down", by scaling back the strings and giving the song a slightly starker production overall. Her redone vocals are also less cheery-sounding and serve the record better. Over thirty years after it's debut "Upside Down" remains my favorite single of all-time. I will never tire of the lush strings, scratchy guitars and Lady Di's cool, detached vocal. The anthematic "I'm Coming Out" of course being the other winner here with it's exuberant keyboard exclamation and incessant shotgun drumming matching Diana's excited and celebratory delivery. Diana seems to be having the most fun on the cheery-sounding ode to "My Old Piano". Musically, this one's most similar to "Upside Down" except it's happier and Diana naturally executes the tricky verses with expertise.
The two slow jams "Friend to Friend" and "Now That You're Gone" are anything but boring. The production is breathtaking, awash with plucky strings underneath crystal-clear vocals that will give the listener goosebumps.
Though the production is still top-notch, the writing is not as sharp on the remaining cuts. "Have Fun (Again)" possesses more of an urban vibe that Rogers would employ the following year on Debbie Harry's solo debut "Koo Koo". The song goes on longer than it should. The same can be said for "Give Up", but this one gets the edge because of stronger lyrics.
I bought the expanded 2-disc edition just to get the original version of the album that Nile Rogers mixed himself but I admit I don't listen to the second disc of bonus tracks very often.
Anyone who (correctly) perceives Diana as a singles artist and is wary of purchasing an album of hers can rest easy--this is one that won't disappoint. Fans of CHIC and Sister Sledge or Nile Rogers' work will be sure to enjoy.
Upside Down 5/5
Friend to Friend 5/5
I'm Coming Out 5/5
Have Fun (Again) 4/5
My Old Piano 5/5
Now That You're Gone 5/5
Give Up 4/5
Album rating: FOUR STARS.
"Diana" produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic fame is a stand out on it's own,every track being hit worthy.Now with the addition of tracks from the hard to find (Baby's It's me)such as Top Of The World" and "Your Love Is So Good For Me" plus obscure tracks like "Sweet Summertime Livin'","Fire Don't Burn" and "We Can Never Light That Old Flame Again" and the beautiful "You Were The One" make it irresistible.They even throw a little bit of flavor from The Boss with "I Aint Been Licked" If I were told I could only buy one Diana Ross CD"heaven forbid" it would be this one..
Anyway, this is basically a solid Chic album with Ross on lead vocals. The exceptions: "Friend to Friend" is a pedestrian, seemingly obligatory "ballad;" and "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out" are post-disco classics. AND "I'm Coming Out" has a trombone solo by Meco. Some of Ross' 80s output was nearly as good -- I'm thinking "Mirror, Mirror" here -- but _Diana_ was, imho, the best of her solo albums.
In comparing the 2 editions, there are 3 things that are consistent across all the tracks.
- The overall sound is more compressed on the Terrana mix and more ambient on the Chic mix.
- Diana's vocals are more prominent, sped up, and smoothed out on the Terrana mix. The Chic mixed presented a more raw and lively vocal sound.
- Nile Rodger's guitar presence is lessened (and in some places, eliminated) on the majority of the tracks.
So, which version is better? Let's take it track by track:
"Upside Down": They are definately distinct from each other. The Chic mix is more funky sounding but doesn't quite flow as well as the Terrana mix. A toss-up.
"Tenderness": Terrana sucked the life out of this track. The driving Chic mix is much more energetic and enjoyable. Chic mix wins hands down.
"Friend to Friend": Chic mix makes this track sound ethereal and dreamy, but the guitar is a bit too much in spots. Terrana's mix is better for reining in the excess.
"I'm Coming Out": Both tracks are well done, but the Chic mix was more quirky and playful, especially in the trombone solo. Edge goes to the Chic mix.
"Have Fun (Again)": Similar to "Upside Down" in that the Chic mix had more rhythmic drive, but isn't necessarily an improvement. Another toss-up.
"My Old Piano": Oddly enough, it is the Terrana mix that gives Diana's vocals like and verve despite more prominent instrumentation. Edge to the Terrana mix.
"Now That You're Gone": This is the track where there is the least difference between the mixes, another toss-up.
"Give Up": The Chic mix features a nice break near the end. Gives it the edge it needs.
Overall, I tend to favor the Chic mix, but cannot deny that both make for great albums.