Eddy Grant

Walking on Sunshine

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After the commercial failure of his debut solo album, Message Man, Eddy Grant returned to the studio to record Walking on Sunshine. The singer self-produced the album, a labor of love and self-confidence, and played all the instruments aside from congas, enlisting help for only one track. But having been burnt once, this time Grant decided to divide the album in half, with the A-side dedicated to the tougher cultural songs and the flip showcasing his pop efforts. Ironically enough, it was the A-side's centerpiece, "Living on the Frontline," that grabbed the world's attention, with its defiant shout against oppression. The song remains one of the most potent hybrids ever composed, with its dance-friendly electro beats, tinkling synth, hints of funk, and fiery lyrics that captured the roiling discontent of the day, all buttressed by a sublime melody. Grant recognized the song's potential and appended an extended instrumental version to it, which keeps the song pumping across two thirds of the side. Coupled with the funky title track, the A-side was a heavy hitter of undeniable power. Yet the flip was just as impressive, and features a clutch of innovative blends of style and moods. Dreamy Motown going calypso in a disco, romantic swayers, Latino-inspired skankers -- the songs may have been lightweight in comparison to their counterparts, but were equally groundbreaking. The album ends with the rootsy, life-affirming "We Are," which segues perfectly back into "Walking on Sunshine," assuming you flip the album over fast enough. Grant's faith in himself and the human race as a whole made this one of the most powerful records of its time, and its message still rings true today.

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