Review: Adam Ant, Strip (1983)
What Adam Ant needs right now is an album with three potential hits the size of "Goody Two Shoes." This isn't that album, and it may be a sign he's more interested in videos, films and touring than putting new material on vinyl right now.
Adam simply sounds like he's been listening to Prince too much--maybe his record company pressured him to make an album for the Prince crowd? The sound here isn't beat-oriented Ant music for Sex people, it's more like disco/MOR-oriented synth-pop even without any synthesizers being credited. Not long ago, this guy had a line in a song about, "Your body should be yours, and sharing it sublime." Now he's delivered an entire album about "get down, get off" and girls in sports cars.
The only two tracks worth singling out are the ones Phil Collins produced, where something that remotely sounds like rock or New Wave comes through. One is "Strip," a decent hit and decently risqué song. The other is "Puss in Boots" which owes its catchy style more to Collins' drumming than anything else.
Otherwise forget about enjoying Adam's vocals or lyrics--his great voice is done no favors by the arrangements, and the lyrics aren't worth fighting though the retro-disco beat to pick out. The remainder of songs are all imitation Prince--even including an ode to Prince's much-favored T&A support act, Vanity. "Montreal" is about sexual excess but it's nothing "Lady Marmalade" and La Belle didn't do better last decade (so 1974). "Playboy" at least handles humorously what the rest of the album takes far too seriously.
Overall Strip isn't very sexy and not much of a musical tribute to anything but trash. Out of ten songs, at least seven come off as slapped-together filler vainly attempting to cash in on Prince's sexy success--like Adam Ant needs to imitate any other musical artist's turf. Prince did a song about "Sister," so "Navel to Neck" could be about keeping it in the family, too. "Amazon" could have been a good Adam Ant song--but as performed here, it's just another pathetic attempt to cash in on something like what Prince might do.
It makes me wonder what kind of compromises between artist and record company were made so the company would have product to push until the artist gets around to pleasing his fans. The come-hither cover photo sets up classic romance for a female audience--but the songs appear aimed at macho male Playboy readers. Rock fans won't like this record, and neither will the dance-pop crowd. They'll stick with the real Prince, not an imitation.
Saddest is that we Ant people must wait at least another year before we may finally get the blockbuster three-hit album that we know Adam Ant's capable of. We'll wait but the momentum that "Goody Two Shoes" built is going to go away, and less serious fans will move on to rival romantic pop heroes.