Herb Alpert

Keep Your Eye on Me

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The unbelievable sales success of this record is a testament to Herb Alpert's extraordinary ability to keep his ear to the ground -- no doubt aided by his position as vice-chairman and co-owner of A&M Records -- and adapt to the times. At a time when A&M's Janet Jackson was blazing up the charts, Alpert journeyed to Minneapolis and cut some tracks with Jackson's producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, producing the others himself in a mostly similar techno-pop vein. Presto!, three Top Ten R&B singles came out of the album, "Keep Your Eye on Me," "Making Love in the Rain," and the number one hit "Diamonds." The flashy, trashy "Diamonds" no doubt was aided on its rush up the charts by Jackson and Lisa Keith's bouncy lead vocals; it's really their record and that of Jam and Lewis, despite Alpert's top billing. Jackson and Keith also take the lead in the simple-minded lyrics of "Making Love in the Rain," which nevertheless has a haunting effect accented by Alpert's muted musings through an electronic gauze. At first, this seems like a gleaming digital machine of a record, loaded with repetitive sampling effects and drum machines churning out that ubiquitous '80s backbeat. But the techno stuff gradually gives way to Alpert's humane trumpet, which in a touching valentine to the '60s on Acker Bilk's "Stranger on the Shore," is eventually allowed to soar unimpeded over the electronics.

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