Break Out

The Pointer Sisters

Planet Records, 1983

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/12/2006

You have to admit, there’s something special about the Pointer Sisters (June Pointer, rest in peace). Every time I hear one of their songs on the radio now, I can’t help but smile. 

This particular album, Break Out, remains the Pointers’ most successful to date.  Four of the ten tracks even made it into the Billboard Top 10 chart, though I never much cared for the overplayed hits “Automatic” or “I’m So Excited.” On “Automatic,” Ruth’s alto vocal was processed through an emulator, making her sound absolutely terrible (like a guy who can’t sing). And the unnecessary remix of the chestnut “I’m So Excited” is so manic that it is almost laughable. nbtc__dv_250

Those two aberrations aside, Break Out is an impressive piece of work by one of the most important producers of the ’80s, Richard Perry.  Sure, weaker tracks like “Dance Electric” and “Operator” suffer from their dated ’80s electronic sound, but the other songs more than make up for it.  The album opens with the snappy hit “Jump (For My Love)” and the breakneck pace of the other material rarely lets up. 

However, there are two harmonious slow jams thrown in for the R&B crowd, who probably felt somewhat alienated by the remaining bulk of this surprisingly mainstream pop album. Both “I Need You” and “Easy Persuasion” can be considered standouts because of their crisp and clean style. They provide the deep breaths in an otherwise breathless affair.

My three personal favorite cuts on Break Out are “Baby Come And Get It,” “Telegraph Your Love” and “Neutron Dance,” which was such a good single that it was also included in the #1 soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop the following year. It has nonsensical lyrics, sure, but the music is catchy as all hell. I dare anyone to sit still when this one is playing.  It’s a virtual collision course of percussion and synths, building to such a crescendo it could burn the house down. 

Another song that only the Pointer Sisters could pull off is “Baby, Come And Get It,” which features the immortal line “I think I’ll take a bubble bath.” “Telegraph Your Love” also deserves special mention because of its absolutely gorgeous melody line. I was thrilled when this song made the cut for the trio’s first best-of compilation.

Hard as the Pointer Sisters may have tried to stay on top of their game, once the ’80s ended so did they. Break Out was about as good as it got for the Grammy-winning team of June, Anita and Ruth. It was giddy fun while it lasted.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B


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© 2006 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Planet Records, and is used for informational purposes only.