by: Chic

If Prince and Shalamar -- two artists who made their recording debuts in the late '70s -- could be relevant to the urban contemporary scene of 1983 and even cross over to pop-rock/new wave audiences, why not Chic? Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards hoped that Chic could, which is why 1983's Believer finds the group updating its sound with generally appealing, if uneven, results. Using a lot more keyboards and drum machines and favoring a more high-tech production style, Rogers and Edwards sound like they're trying hard to live down their reputation as a late '70s disco act. Urban contemporary considerations are strong, and some of the songs might have reached pop-rock and new wave audiences with the right promotion. The infectious "Party Everybody" contains more rapping than singing, and acknowledges hip-hop's popularity, which is appropriate considering how often hip-hoppers have sampled Chic over the years. And even though Believer falls short of being a gem, you have to admire Chic's ability to update its approach while continuing to sound incredibly distinctive. But the LP didn't contain any hit singles, and Believer would be Chic's last album for Atlantic. Chic broke up in 1985, although they reunited for 1992's uneven Chic-ism and 1996's superb Live at the Budokhan (neither of which were big sellers). The ironic thing is that while Rodgers and Edwards were very much in demand as producers during the '80s (when Rodgers produced such superstars as Duran Duran, Madonna, David Bowie, and the B-52s, and Edwards worked with the Power Station, Rod Stewart, Robert Palmer, and Jody Watley, among others), Chic itself never returned to the top of the charts. ~ Alex Henderson

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