Monday, November 9, 2015

"He's a Pretender" by High Inergy

Song#:  1457
Date:  05/21/1983
Debut:  95
Peak:  82
Weeks:  5
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  Initially a quartet, this female vocal group from Pasadena, California, got discovered by Berry Gordy's sister Gwen. Consisting of sisters Vernessa and Barbara Mitchell, Linda Howard, and Michelle Martin, the group got signed to Motown and released their first single "You Can't Turn Me Off (In the Middle of Turning Me On)." The song became a hit reaching #2 R&B and #12 Pop. Unfortunately, follow-up singles failed to replicate that success. After their second album, Vernessa left the group to work in gospel music. The remaining trio soldiered on, but they could only manage to get singles into the lower rungs of the R&B chart. In 1983, they issued the album "Groove Patrol" and this single was released. Despite getting some attention on the Dance chart (#25) and making it to the Pop chart (their first to do so since 1978), the song floundered at R&B and only reached #62. It would end up being their final chart single and last album together. Barbara would leave the group for a solo career and that basically ended High Inergy.

ReduxReview:  High Inergy is the group, low energy is the track. The vast majority of the song is based on one repetitive synth line and it rarely strays from that. Sometimes this can work, but more often than not it just makes the song boring. The zzzz's were circling above my head halfway through this tune. The vocals are quality, but the material and production are a bit run o' tha synth mill for the time and lack anything special or interesting.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  When signed to Motown, the quartet ended up getting fashioned into a Supremes-like vocal group. They were even named after one of The Supremes' albums, 1976's "High Energy." That album would be the Supremes' second to last before finally disbanding. At the time, The Supremes consisted of Mary Wilson, Scherrie Payne, and Cindy Birdsong. Birdsong left the group during the recording sessions for the album and was replaced by Susaye Greene. This made "High Energy" one of three Supremes albums where there were four members credited. Their debut album "Meet the Supremes" featured Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Barbara Martin (they were originally a quartet). Martin left the group after recording some songs and the others continued as a trio. Their 1968 album "Reflections" was also credited to four Supremes when during the sessions Ballard was fired from the group and Birdsong stepped in.



  1. When you mentioned how bad the song was, I had to look up who produced it. Lo and behold, it was the infamous George Tobin. This guy was a menace throughout the 80s. Other than "More Love" by Kim Carnes, everything this guy touched turned to matter of the fecal variety. There's plenty more opportunities coming to lambaste this guy (and I already have previously), but I just wanted to reiterate his lousiness.

    1. Agreed. Fecal indeed! Yes, I believe we have a mall waif that he was responsible for coming up in a few years.