Monday, March 18, 2019

"The Heat of Heat" by Patti Austin

Song#:  2711
Date:  05/03/1986
Debut:  83
Peak:  55
Weeks:  9
Genre:  R&B, Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  After her #1 hit duet with James Ingram, 1982's "Baby Come to Me," Austin had troubles getting another significant hit on the Pop chart. She'd get another Top 10 at R&B and one at Dance, but nothing clicked at a more mainstream level. For her sixth studio album, Gettin' Away with Murder, her label, Quincy Jones' Qwest Records, set her up with some of the day's top songwriters and producers including Russ Titelman, Michael Bolton, Terry Britten, Steve Porcaro, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. The LP's first single, "Honey for the Bees," was a remake of a song originally co-written and recorded by Alison Moyet. It would be a #6 Dance hit, but would only get to #24 R&B while missing the Pop chart. The title track would be issued next, but it failed to do much of anything stalling at #72 R&B. Surprisingly, the label decided to push out a third single and selected this track written and produced by Jam & Lewis. Overall, it did better than the previous two singles by getting to #13 at R&B, #14 Dance, and nearly cracking the top half of the Pop chart. Yet it still wasn't the sizable hit needed to generate further interest in Austin or the LP. It would end up being Austin's last single to reach the Pop chart. She would go on to have one more Top 10 at both AC and Dance and that wrapped up her days on the mainstream singles charts.

ReduxReview:  The chorus of this song had a Jam & Lewis vibe, but the rest sounds like they were channeling a post-Disco style of Chic. It's fine, but I wouldn't count it among their best efforts. I think the problem is that Quincy Jones and the label were trying to make a big crossover dance/pop/R&B star out of Austin and it just wasn't working. There were too many cooks trying to make the album and it ended up over-seasoned and inconsistent. Austin can sing anything and make something from nothing, but when the majority of tracks are bland to begin with, there is only so much she can do. Luckily, she found her groove again when she returned to more jazz oriented material.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  By the end of the 80s, Austin would retreat back to her jazz roots and mainly record albums in that vein. She would end up with eight Top 20 albums on the Jazz chart including four Top 10's (her 1981 album Every Home Should Have One also made the Jazz Top 10). She would add three more Grammy nods to her credit for a total of six. Her one nomination in 2007 would net Austin her first Grammy win. Her LP Avant Gershwin would secure Austin a win for Best Jazz Vocal Album.


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