Artist: The Black Kids
Album: Partie Traumatic
Comments: If there is one thing college taught me, it was that it’s okay to like dance music. It took awhile to for me to come to terms with this idea, but I like the thumping bass and the swanky synthesizer and the repetitive choruses that are staples of any good dance band. I like the count ups and the count downs and people shouting “Dance!” all over the place.
The Black Kids’ Partie Traumatic has all of that. And it makes for some pretty great songs. But the more times I listened to this album, feet prepped to make an uncoordinated scene in my bedroom, the less I actually wanted to get up and dance. The excitement of this album faded as quickly as it had arrived, and by my third time through I was ready to dig out some Go! Team and properly recover.
Partie Traumatic has a few songs that make it worth stealing. In “Hurricane Jane,” the most provocative of Black Kids’ songs, singer Reggie Youngblood will make any dance kid weak in the knees as he delicately croons, “Jane I’ve seen you at the club/ You were tearin’ up the rug with no regard for form/ You’re such a brute.”
Single “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You,” is hands down the number one track off this album. Accelerated and fun, the ladies in the band are in charge of the chanting choruses while Youngblood shouts in indignation at how poorly your man moves.
Partie Traumatic’s other capstone arrives with the end of the album. Closer “Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo) plays with an energy as solid as anything off the Go! Team’s renowned Proof of Youth. But lines like “When the party says stop we’re all gonna drop,” is a sentiment that should have been shared earlier in the CD. When the two strongest songs aren’t played until the last four tracks, who is still going to be listening to hear them?
The Black Kids aren’t breaking new ground with this album. Though at times the group raises the question of whether Partie Traumatic is really from a bunch of hip kids from Jacksonville, Florida or an ‘80s group that fell through a time warp, there’s no resounding push to bring listeners something spunky and different. “Partie Traumatic” and “I Wanna Be Your Limousine” are good, typical dance tracks, but there’s nothing making them stand out against the throngs of other 80s-esque music someone could reach for.
Other than the aforementioned hits, the Black Kids isn’t delivering anything lyrically spectacular either. Not that most dancers are listening for sophisticated lines, but the band isn’t helping their case here for creating anything besides average dance tracks. Verses range from the cute to the mildly absurd, with first song “Hit The Heartbrakes” opening with a knock-knock joke about calling ghosts in your underwear and “I’ve Underestimated My Charm (Again),” about a girl who can’t let go and is caught in the park giving head to a statue. Black Kids, what are you talking about?
With Partie Traumatic, the Black Kids have pulled off an interesting feat of versatility. They’ve put out an album that is good as background while stocking shelves, walking, and, like most well-executed dance music, getting in the mood. They’ve got numbers that are perfect for shaking your hips, but as a whole the album just can’t deliver. When it comes time actually to hit the dance floor, I’d suggest reaching for a different CD first.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
Key Tracks: Hurricane Jane, I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You, Look at Me (When I Rock Wichoo)
Buy, Steal, Skip: Steal