Slaves Of New York, the big-screen adaptation of author Tama Janowitz's best-selling collection of short stories, may have tanked when unleashed on the viewing public, but the soundtrack emerged, and remains, a delightful, if slightly dirty little secret -- a map of where the excess express chuffed at the end of the 1980s. Punchy and so, so slick, Slaves of New York captures the lighthearted and lightweight penchant for danceable pop, throwing in a few legit house hits for street cred and filling the rest of the space with an interesting array of songs that either hit the top of the charts or missed by a mile -- all easy tunes to dance to while quaffing bevvies of choice. Inner City's house hit "Good Life" not only remains a guilty pleasure for many, but also captured the gritty, sweaty, edgy attitude of '80s hipsters. When combined with Neneh Cherry's ubiquitous "Buffalo Stance" and Public Image Ltd.'s big beat, big-haired "Warrior," well, the end of the decade is pretty much covered. But there's much more to be unleashed as the Tom Tom Club/Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers aggregation weighs in with the oddly constructed number one R&B hit "Tumblin' Down." Part mod reggae and part wave quirk, it can be, admittedly, a little too much to handle for the casual listener, but is bound to bring memories to those who lived the scene. Dancehall guru Maxi Priest, meanwhile, takes the mood down with a cover of the 1984 Rod Stewart classic "Some Guys Have All the Fun," leaving Iggy Pop's "Fall in Love With Me" and Boy George's "Girlfriend" to add their two indie cents. An odd mishmash of sound and style, Slaves of New York proved quite an ambitious release, one perhaps that was a little too odd for the mainstream. And truthfully, while the songs here are probably best sampled within the individual artists' own canons, the album nevertheless remains a half-decent descent into the glitter-laden morass of the middle class.
Share this page