Monday, July 25, 2016

"Electric Kingdom" by Twilight 22

Song#:  1729
Date:  12/17/1983
Debut:  95
Peak:  79
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Electronic, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  Gordon Bahary was a determined teenager. He pestered a Motown receptionist to speak with Stevie Wonder until finally Wonder gave in and talked with the teen. Bahary told Wonder that he wanted to be a producer and after Wonder took the time to talk to Bahary and hear some of his music, Wonder invited the teen to the studio. This happened during the sessions for Wonder's classic album Songs in the Key of Life. Bahary, who became an expert at the new synths and electronic sounds, would then assist Wonder with the synths and sequencing on his next album Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. The association with Wonder helped Bahary get work with other artists like Herbie Hancock. With his resume expanding, it was time for Bahary to step into the limelight. He got together with his friend Joseph Saulter and the pair developed Twilight 22. They were signed to the Vanguard label and this first single was issued. It became a hit at Dance and R&B reaching #5 and #7, respectively. The song got some minor attention at Pop and spent a couple of months on the chart. A self-title album would follow along with two other lower charting singles at Dance and R&B. Unfortunately, at some point after the album's release, Twilight 22 decided to part ways. Bahary would return to supporting artists behind the scenes until 2012 when he would issue his first solo album title Unbreakable.

ReduxReview:  Apparently, this song and the album were influential within the electronic music community. I can kind of hear why. It's like one big experiment. Various electronic sounds, synthesized vocals, rapping, and even Arabic sounding melodies. It all adds up to one strange track. I can't say I dislike it, but it's also nothing I'd really toss in my playlists either. The synthpop part of the song I enjoy, but the rapping is not great. It's definitely ol' school rap, but it sounds forced and too rigid. It almost kills the song for me, but luckily there was enough of the electronic passages to keep me interested.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Bahary's partner and co-writer (and lead vocalist) in Twilight 22, Joseph Saulter, would continue on in music, but ended up acting as well. He made appearances in several Broadway shows and in 1977 he won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for his work in I Love My Wife. Saulter was an audio production expert and also became involved with the video game industry. He eventually became CEO of 3-D video game development company.


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