Gonna Make You Sweat
Columbia Records, 1990
REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/28/2009
Back in the dance year of 1990, Martha Wash just couldn’t get any love. The former Weather Girl supplied vocals to Black Box and Seduction and didn’t get any credit for it whatsoever. When C&C Music Factory hired her for their album Gonna Make You Sweat, they made sure to list her name in the credits. However, Wash was outraged when she learned that another woman by the name of Zelma Davis was lip-synching her vocals in videos and live performances. So Martha did the logical thing – she sued C&C Music Factory, Black Box and Seduction. As karma would have it, Martha earned one hell of a payout.
Hiring Zelma Davis just because she was more photogenic must have been quite an insult to Martha Wash, whose example has prevented something so deliberately unfair and chauvinistic from occurring since. They really should have known better than to try such a sneaky ploy, especially since the Milli Vanilli debacle happened less than year prior.
Today it all seems so silly, doesn’t it? Just the ridiculous name of C&C Music Factory itself now brings with it a smirk and a chuckle. As with all of the other dance acts of the day, the Factory has since been boarded up and put out of business (or is it misery?). No longer will we have to endure the annoying raps of Freedom Williams, the electronic jitteriness of such tracks as the cloying Sister Act soundtrack cut “Just A Touch Of Love” or the repetitious bargain basement production of “Live Happy.”
There are a few good songs on Gonna Make You Sweat, such as the #1 hit title track or the tribute to late night host Arsenio Hall, “Things That Make You Go Hmmm.” Another gem is “A Groove Of Love,” where producers Robert Clivilles and David Cole attempt something slower and a tad more experimental. There’s also another club smash “Here We Go, Let’s Rock & Roll,” though it is as far from true, authentic rock & roll as you can possibly get. It’s by far the most cringe-worthy moment on a record that is full of them.
The last few songs are the saddest throwaways of all; they try ever so hard to be hi-NRG party anthems, but fail to measure up to the album’s strong first half. Titles like “Let’s Get Funkee,” “Givin’ It To You,” and “Bang That Beat” are telling when it comes to the how much thought must have gone into putting such tracks together. All of it adds up to a lack of creativity and a set of tunes that is all one-note. As you probably know by now, I’m one of those people who have always felt that rapping is a poor substitute for real lyrics.
An album’s worth of this kind of material is all one really needs. Makes you wonder what the hell we were thinking back then, doesn’t it?