It’s boo­gie time

Nile Rodgers goes back to his roots in re­turn with Chic

The London Free Press - - MUSIC - MARK KENNEDY

The cover of the new Chic al­bum might be fa­mil­iar.

Does any­one else vaguely rec­og­nize the im­age of two mod­els gaz­ing se­duc­tively into the cam­era fid­dling about with whis­tles? For those old enough to know, it’s the prom­ise of boo­gie.

A sim­i­lar magazine cover-in­spired photo graced the de­but al­bum of Chic in 1977 and co-cre­ator Nile Rodgers sig­nals his in­tent to go back to his roots and yet up­date his sound by rein­ter­pret­ing that old cover for It’s About Time, the cheek­ily ti­tled first Chic al­bum since 1992.

If you doubted Rodgers wants to get down in 2018, just look at some of the song ti­tles — Do You Wanna Party, Dance With Me, I Dance My Dance and Boo­gie All Night.

Rodgers has in­vited a bunch of well­known singers — in­clud­ing Lady Gaga, El­ton John, Hailee Ste­in­feld and Craig David — and added el­e­ments of hip-hop to craft a bub­bly, in­fec­tious al­bum that seems old and new at the same time.

The first song — Till the World Falls, cowrit­ten by An­der­son .Paak — is a wel­come hit of pure Rodgers, em­ploy­ing his trade­mark funky, choppy gui­tar work that fu­eled such disco hits as Le Freak and Good Times.

The new song clocks in at over five min­utes but it should be three times that length for the sheer happiness it de­liv­ers. “The world has gone mad,” the lyrics go, “we might be safer on the dance floor.”

In these days when EDM is all over the pop charts, Rodgers’ blast of disco-funk fits per­fectly.

But it’s about time a younger gen­er­a­tion drank di­rectly from the orig­i­nal spring: Rodgers — along with Chic’s late bass player Bernard Ed­wards — were pi­o­neers of boo­gie.

When disco peaked, Rodgers helped make hits for Madonna, David Bowie, Du­ran Du­ran and, lately, Daft Punk.

Other stand­outs on the al­bum in­clude Sober fea­tur­ing David and St­ef­flon Don, which has a New Jack Swing vibe; Dance With Me fea­tur­ing a per­fectly cast Ste­in­feld; and Do You Wanna Party with LunchMoney Lewis adding fun, tipsy raps.

But there are stum­bles, in­clud­ing the mostly in­stru­men­tal, vocoder mess State of Mine (It’s About Time), fea­tur­ing jazz multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist Philippe Saisse. It’s just over­cooked Muzak and sounds like be­ing trapped in an el­e­va­tor in an air­port Mar­riott in 1981.

And — this hurts even more — two of Rodgers’ high­est-pro­file col­lab­o­ra­tions fall flat, like three-day old Cham­pagne.

Queen, in­spired by Diana Ross and fea­tur­ing John and Emeli Sande, is a plod­ding, point­less slow jam.

And Gaga’s cover of the old Chic hit, I Want Your Love, is too rev­er­en­tial to the orig­i­nal.

But these are quib­bles.

Rodgers has once more of­fered pure, es­capist fun and you can now find us on the dance floor.

Bring your whis­tles.

Nile Rodgers & Chic It’s About Time (Vir­gin EMI) MIKE PONT/GETTY IM­AGES

Niles Rodgers has once more of­fered pure, es­capist fun.

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