Review #414: Risque, Chic

Karla Clifton
2 min readJul 9, 2023

#414: Risque, Chic

Sad C’est Chic with “Le Freak” didn’t make the cut. I was interested in Aaa freaking out.

Guess whether Chic was a casualty of Disco Sucks. God, what was it that suddenly made people so riotously hateful of free love? Was it self-important, cock-rocky hair metal? Was it President Jimmy Carter? Was it the Chicago White Sox?

The Chic brain trust was guitarist Niles Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards. (They continued working together after Chic’s split, producing for others, including Diana Ross.) The Chic vocal trust was Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin, who sound like they’re singing breathily at the other end of your room, yet also somehow right in your ear. Rodgers is my favorite — he plays theclear guitar on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” Also I love this interview where he says people were “pitting” them against the Knack, and then shades them! “They only had one hit.” It’s true but it isn’t nice!

One of my favorite things about Risque (and maybe disco in general) is how it refuses to stop being sexy. There’s sweaty and clandestine meetings between two people who just can’t stay away from each other (“A Warm Summer Night” and “My Forbidden Lover”), there’s a guitar tuned with sexual tension (“Can’t Stand to Love You”), there are song titles that you can read in a childish, mocking tone (“Will You Cry (When You Hear This Song)”). Anderson and Martin aren’t unusually powerful singers but they’re remarkably in-sync, and a little hypnotizing at times. (See “My Feet Keep Dancing” and “What About Me.”)

I loved “Good Times,” which happens to have the exact same guitar riff as his Daft Punk collab. I loved listening to Chic instructing people on how to have a good time. Don’t be a drag; participate/ Clams on the half shell, and roller skates, roller skates. Imagine asking anyone in your life if they want to get clams and go roller skate. Man, 1979 really was nearly 50 years ago.

When asked about Disco Sucks in the interview above, Rodgers said that the movement “happened and then we had one of the biggest records of our career with Diana Ross! … But by that time Chic was toxic. Even my friends were bad-mouthing us.” So don’t cry for Niles Rodgers, man. Things worked out for the best for him. The same isn’t true for Edwards, who died tragically young of pneumonia 1996. Rodgers wrote a really sweet tribute to him eleven years ago.

Favorite Chic Cover: LCD Soundsystem, “I Want Your Love.”

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Review #415: Look-Ka Py Py, The Meters