Atlantic, 1977

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


There’s no denying that Chic was one of the leading proponents of disco music in the ’70s. With “Dance, Dance, Dance” and “Freak Out,” their music was ubiquitous at any club.

But to simply write Chic off as a disco band would be a misnomer. Their self-titled debut serves as proof of this, but it also suggests that they didn’t quite know which direction they wanted to take their music—and this proves to be their Achilles’ heel.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

There is no denying the musical talent that Chic had. With guitarist Nile Rodgers, bassist Bernard Edwards and drummer Tony Thompson, their musical pedigree was firmly established. And with a revolving support cast that included Luther Vandross (!) and Jay Beckenstein, Chic was a musical powerhouse.

Yes, disco plays a big role in two of the album’s seven songs. “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” and “Everybody Dance” are decent enough tracks, though they do sound a bit dated at times.

But Chic seemed to want to go in many different musical directions on this album. “Sao Paolo” is a smooth jazz piece that, honestly, is the best track on the disc; had they gone in this direction, they might not have achieved the fame they did, but they would have been untouchable musically. “You Can Get By” and “Strike Up The Band” both feel like they belong in the funk-rock category; not bad, but George Clinton won’t be losing any sleep.

Add into this a pseudo-ballad in “Falling In Love With You,” and a song I personally can’t make heads or tails out of in “Est-Ce Que C’est Chic,” and you have an album that had great ambitions, but ended up a bit disjointed as it tried to cover too many genres in too short a span of time.

The thing is, Chic is not a bad album—sure, a product of its time, but not a bad disc per se. Had the band focused on one or two musical styles, this would have been a powerful disc. As it is, it’s still listenable, but one wonders what it could have been.

Rating: C+

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