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  1. #1

    Diana Ross’ ‘Diana’ Turns 40 | Anniversary Retrospective


  2. #2
    Hmmm, I am not so sure if I totally agree with that assessment. I honestly do not feel Reach Out and Touch governed the types of songs she released for 9 years before the Boss. Reach Out was much like a sing a long song. Ain't No mountain was very strong and powerful, Remember me had some of her strongest, full bodied, energetic singing, Surrender had a great beat, Love Hangover was a terrific disco song. None seemed to be governed by Reach Out. As great as diana was, her singing was rather simple and easy-she herself said she wanted songs her children would sing. As great as the album was it didn't showcase her abilities as strongly as Lady sings the blues, touch me in the morning or remember me did-but that is clearly my opinion. But still, thanks to the one and only Monicarivers for sharing this article on celebrating this LP from 40 years ago.

  3. #3
    I can't believe it has really been 40 years.

    This album sort of caught me by surprise. I knew she was recording with Nile and Bernard but I didn't know that the album was out until she mentioned it while appearing on a Bob Hope special. I remember racing to the record store that weekend and waiting a bit impatiently while they finished putting the price stickers on the albums so I could buy one.

    When I got it home, I must admit I wasn't knocked out by the songs or the vocals. It certainly didn't grab me immediately like THE BOSS did. I ended up liking it more as its popularity soared. Songs like TENDERNESS and GIVE UP became faves of mine but today I hardly play it.

  4. #4
    an interesting read

    clearly the author didn't read the booklet on this album in the EE or much else of Ross' history. still it's a positive article on her and the main point is that Ross MASSIVE success across decades is something to behold

    a more fun discussion is this album is turning 40!! wow!!

    this is a very fine album. it's cool, urban, lean and muscular, hot and driving

    personally i like The Boss a bit better. it's glorious, massive, disco, swirling strings and gospel backing choirs, celebratory.

  5. #5
    diana is one of her most highly regarded albums by writers and critics but it seems like The Boss is more liked by most of us here. I've gone hot and cold about the album over the years. I do appreciate the musicianship and creative artistry.

  6. #6
    This was the start of me becoming a Diana fan. I bought it only because I was a fan of Chic, but then rushed out to buy the two 'Twenty Golden Greats' compilations - by both The Supremes & Diana.

    Game, Set & Match - Miss Ross.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post
    diana is one of her most highly regarded albums by writers and critics but it seems like The Boss is more liked by most of us here. I've gone hot and cold about the album over the years. I do appreciate the musicianship and creative artistry.
    There is a reason why diana is the highest-charting, and probably biggest-selling, album of her career. It was bold and as you note a high-point of her creative artistry. Notwithstanding the difficulty in the studio, Nile and Bernard really did push her to be someone perhaps no one else believed she could be. The result speaks for itself.

    It is still the most distinctive moment in her recording career. My love for it has only grown since the release of the Chic mixes because it finally registered how adventurous she had been in the recording process.

  8. #8
    I love the Diana album. Real great dance tunes and on a timeless album.

  9. #9
    I forget what beach I was on in the warm weather the first time I heard Upside Down coming out of all those AM radios tuned to NY's 77WABC but it was quite an enjoyable experience, as was THAT album

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Guy View Post
    There is a reason why diana is the highest-charting, and probably biggest-selling, album of her career. It was bold and as you note a high-point of her creative artistry. Notwithstanding the difficulty in the studio, Nile and Bernard really did push her to be someone perhaps no one else believed she could be. The result speaks for itself.

    It is still the most distinctive moment in her recording career. My love for it has only grown since the release of the Chic mixes because it finally registered how adventurous she had been in the recording process.
    You're right. It is the most distinctive and bold album of her career. I can't even think of a Supremes album that was so bold and distinctive.

  11. #11
    So many memories. This album was so huge at the time. Love it.

  12. #12
    here are a few thoughts on diana 80 and why it was the biggest seller - would love to hear other's thoughts and opinions.

    1. it was a cohesive album with a clear direction. not a mish mosh of songs like much of her motown work.

    2. It took an existing and wildly popular sound/group/production team and reinterpreted it for Miss Ross. the chic sound was SO hot at the time. and the album isn't simply a knock off of their earlier work but an advancement of their prior work. still everyone knew their sound and so it was like a perfect marriage. much of her earlier work was diana doing something new and different. so you have the chance that it could work very well (mountain and touch me) or not so well in terms of sales and charts (baby it's me set). here diana is successfully tapping into a trend versus trying to set one

    3. more urban and a little less r&b - i'm on the fence about this one and would love to hear other's thoughts. the 3 A&S albums are excellent but they also have a very clear r&b and gospel influence. while sounding great, it isn't a sound that everyone is into. the chic material is definitely r&b influenced too but maybe more rock and urban. there's heavy guitar work throughout, it's sharp and crisp. It's not big female gospel choirs backing her up.

  13. #13
    as to why many of her die-hard fans might prefer other albums to diana 80, i'm going to guess that it's because the range of songs and performances on albums like Diana Ross 70, The Boss, Baby It's Me, Touch Me In the Morning are more lush, varied and challenging. The singing she did on Surrender is far more aggressive and difficult (technically) than diana 80. Although diana 80 is all about restraint which is NOT an easy thing to pull off successfully.

    Diana is a master is lyrics and conveying emotion through her singing. So songs with intelligent lyric, engaging melodies and emotional content are perfect for her. diana 80 is a more mechanical approach. not bad, just different. I think had she done a second chic album with a similar style, it would not have done well. once is a fascinating and interesting artistic statement.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Diana is a master is lyrics and conveying emotion through her singing. So songs with intelligent lyric, engaging melodies and emotional content are perfect for her. diana 80 is a more mechanical approach. not bad, just different. I think had she done a second chic album with a similar style, it would not have done well. once is a fascinating and interesting artistic statement.
    Agree with many of your observations. In particular, the part about her being a master at conveying emotion. diana departed from the traditional format of the typical Ross story song. Nile and Bernard basically wrote ditties, poems or impressions for her -- i.e. "Friend to Friend" -- and she had to imbue them with her essence. It is an album that succeeds on her strength as an artist and persona rather than an interpreter.

    I don't love "My Old Piano" as much as I really admire it because she has rarely attacked a song with such gusto -- that rapid-fire vocal delivery is still astonishing. Honey...she really loved that old piano. Similarly, her vocal gives "Upside Down" all the elegance and sensuality that its stark groove demands. Then "I'm Coming Out" is one of her most joyous songs of all time, and no one does joy as spectacularly as Ross.

    I think the collaboration with Chic sparked her creativity. She could hear they were taking her in a new, more sonically sophisticated direction. I think she knew diana was going to be very special for her and that's why she wanted to alter Chic's original tracks. She wanted it to better showcase HER contributions to the process. She and Terrana were spot-on with the singles -- "Upside Down", "I'm Coming Out" and "My Old Piano" -- as their final mixes are more accessible than the Chic mixes. Obviously, they should have left "Tenderness" alone because the original is sublime.

    Unfortunately, I think her experience with diana made her less reliant on finding strong material with a solid melodic structure and lyrical narrative. She may have believed that she could take anything, put a little "Ross" on it and make it a hit. And maybe she liked those 'rock' guitars a little too much. So we got "Pieces of Ice", "Dirty Looks", "Swept Away", "So Close" and on and on.
    Last edited by Guy; 05-27-2020 at 01:32 AM.

  15. #15
    diana 80 was her last full studio album where she had a strong production team guiding her in the studio.

    To Love Again - only a partial new album

    WDFFIL & SE - produced by DR and therefore we got mostly uninspired vocals.

    Ross 83 - even though the majority of the lp was produced by Gary Katz, many of the vocals are still, frankly, lazy. Imagine if she'd approached That's How You Start Over with the gusto of Last Time I Saw Him or The Boss or I'm Coming Out. some of the the other tracks on the album are cooler, synth-heavy songs so the cold, restrained vocals sort of fit. not that they're stellar songs but at least from a stylistic approach, it sort of works

    Swept Away - some incredible moments (like Missing You) alongside some duds

    EA - a hideous album with IMO her worst singing. breathy, wispy, weak vocals. affected and clipped pronunciation. just a disaster

    RHR&B - better than some of her other 80s work but the albums suffers from a total lack in musical direction. Tell Me Again hints at her Masser works but never quite lives up to it. Dirty Looks is ok enough. Shockwaves is kinda fun.

    WO - clearly a producer not doing his homework to write and prepare songs in an appropriate key for his client. her vocals are wild, off key and strained. there are some strong moments - Bottom Line.

  16. #16
    I think she had great production values on “The force behind the power”, “A very special season”, “Stolen Moments”, “Take me Higher”, and “Every day is a new Day”.

    But let’s stay on topic. “Diana 1980” was a great album.

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