Bar-Kays

Dangerous

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Able to move with the times, bringing all the elements of the new breed into their sound, and keeping their funk roots intact while traversing the slippery slope of 1980s dance, the Bar-Kays scored another hit with 1984's massive Dangerous LP. Whittled down to a hefty octet for this outing, the Bar-Kays easily proved they were still up to their old tricks, smoothly updating their sound while continuing to take some well-intentioned and good-humored jabs at more than a few peers along the way. This now-traditional penchant, never meant to hurt and only done in homage, is perhaps best heard across the album's three hit singles. Not only was the monstrously sassy "Freakshow on the Dance Floor" an integral part of the film Breakin', but the incorporated elements from Midnight Starr's "No Parking on the Dancefloor" were just evident enough to prove that the similarities were deliberate. Following on the heels of that hit came the mid-tempo groover "Dirty Dancer," which tongue-and-cheekily captured the essence of Michael Jackson's current "Billie Jean," leaving the synthed-out "Sexomatic" following quite happily in Prince's purple footsteps. And while it's true that these songs may well be the best elements of Dangerous, the band wasn't done yet -- not by a long shot. The title track remains an outstanding sliver of smooth dance that seamlessly incorporates more than a few Euro-disco splashes into the mix. It's very much of its era, but still compellingly fresh nevertheless. Elsewhere, the band rounds out the relative frenzy with one single ballad, the well-intentioned "Lovers Should Never Fall in Love," capping off another effusive, energetic set. And although, at the time, it seemed as if the Bar-Kays were unstoppable, Dangerous would prove to be the band's last major hit -- making this album one to savor.

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