There were conflicting explanations and speculations regarding the creative split between close childhood friends André Cymone and Prince. Whether Cymone's solo career was premeditated or the result of friction, there is no way that Prince would have been able to suppress a one-man band with a strong personality. Cymone left the Prince camp in 1981, signed to Columbia, and released this, his first of three albums, in 1982. Cymone wrote and produced all the material. Apart from synthesizer assistance from Roger Dumas (Lipps, Inc.), Cymone played everything as well. He went out of his way to make it known that he was embracing new wave -- hence the album's title and "Ritz Club," a snappy, Devo-indebted ode to the subculture's night life -- perhaps as a way to further distinguish himself from his comrade. Even so, much of Livin' in the New Wave resembles the wiry, funkier end of certain songs off Dirty Mind and Controversy -- recordings for which Cymone felt he was not given enough credit. It's led by the freakazoid quasi-anthem title song, which debuted on Billboard's Black Singles chart the same week as the Time's Prince-driven "777-9311," and the bopping "Kelly's Eyes," where Cymone showed that he was game to raise some eyebrows: "Sick and tired of this phone affair/I wanna get in your underwear." Neither song cracked the Top 70 of Billboard's Black Singles chart. They deserved a little more exposure, and most of the album cuts are ingratiating on some level, all fronted by a versatile vocalist, one who could switch between shout-sung, nasal/robotic, and loverboy ballad modes with equal confidence. This idiosyncratic fusion of styles and quantity of sly pop hooks make it the man's best solo album.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman