Claudja Barry

Feel the Fire

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Whether they were coming from Donna Summer, Dead or Alive, Gloria Gaynor or Chic, the best dance records have had more going for them than just a beat. Obviously, Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," Chic's "Good Times," Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round" and Coldcut's "People, Hold On" were designed to get bodies moving on the dance floor, but they don't lose their appeal away from the dance floor and are great to sit down and listen to. Claudja Barry is another dance artist who believes that vocal personality is as important as the beat, which is why her fourth album, Feel the Fire is, on the whole, good for both listening and dancing. A varied and unpredictable outing, Feel the Fire gets off to a surprising start with the rock-influenced title song -- in 1980, the last thing one expected to hear on one of Barry's albums was an aggressive rock guitar. But the surprise is a pleasant one, and Barry is just as appealing on Euro-disco items like "Stop, He's a Lover" and "One Night Queen." Things become more mechanical on "Wake Up and Make Love to Me," which is among the more forgettable songs on the album. Meanwhile, "Love Seemed So Easy Without You" is a pleasant R&B/pop ballad -- not a gem, but a likable reminder that she is quite capable of singing ballads. Feel the Fire isn't perfect, but more often than not, it paints a favorable picture of Barry.

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