In 1981, a lot of rock & rollers were claiming that the disco era was officially over. Disco, of course, never really died -- a lot of the dance-pop, house music, Hi-NRG, and Latin freestyle that was recorded in the '80s and '90s was essentially disco -- but as far as many of the radio stations and record company A&R men of 1981 were concerned, disco was dead. And that was bad news for Chic, a group closely identified with the disco era. Even though a lot of Chic's work had as much to do with funk and soul as it did with the Euro-disco sound, Chic was unable to live down its reputation as a disco group. But Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards gave it a try with 1981's Take It Off, an admirable, if uneven, project that finds the group downplaying the Euro-disco elements. With R&B and funk as the foundation, Chic tries to branch out by incorporating elements of pop-rock on "Your Love Is Canceled," and jazz on "Flash Back" and "So Fine" (which shouldn't be confused with the "So Fine" that Kashif produced for R&B singer Howard Johnson in 1982). In fact, a few of Rogers' guitar solos give the impression that he'd been listening to a lot of Wes Montgomery. But as likable as the LP is, it didn't contain a major hit -- the single "Stage Fright" only made it to #34 on Billboard's R&B singles chart. And for a group that had enjoyed #1 pop and R&B smashes only two and three years earlier, that was certainly disappointing.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson