Black & White

The Pointer Sisters

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Black & White Review

by Amy Hanson

Their fourth album for Planet, 1981's Black & White, was also the Pointer Sisters' fourth Top Ten LP. Leaving behind some of the early soul that had taken them through the 1970s, the band now focused on a purer pop. Keeping one foot in the past while gingerly touching the waters of the future, it was a sound that perfectly welded their old intentions to the mainstream diva flag they'd unfurl a little later in the decade. With more than a few major hits already behind them, it was clear that by this time the band was approaching its peak. Across the sweet pop of the opening "Sweet Lover Man" and the oddly frenetic harmonies of "We're Gonna Make It," and on to the light rap of "What a Surprise," the Sisters were delivering a hammer-punch to the mainstream masses. But the Pointer Sisters were just getting started. The sensuous "Slow Hand," later revamped by country singer Conway Twitty, not only scored the Pointer Sisters a number two pop hit, but immediately became one of their signature songs. "Fall in Love Again," meanwhile, remained buried deep on side two, but should be considered one of Black & White's highlights. Gritty and funky, this is classic Pointer Sisters, deep and sensuous and shot through with producer Richard Perry's trademark rock & roll spangles. That only left the closing "Should I Do It," with its old-school doo wop vibe, to close the sonic circle. And while the full impact of Black & White was left behind in the wake of what the Pointer Sisters would later be delivering, it remains a classic, as fragile in its breadth and scope as it is dramatic in its vision of the future.

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