The Good The Bad And The Funky

Tom Tom Club

Rykodisc, 2000

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


Talk about coming full circle. On Tom Tom Club’s presumably final album, The Good, The Bad And The Funky, it’s all about playing to one’s strengths. As they go back to their island roots, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth seem intent on ending as solidly as they started nearly two decades earlier. The most noticeable improvement is in Tina’s voice, which has been transformed into a soft and sexy purr throughout her portion of the album’s thirteen tracks. Yes, there’s a lot of material to sift through here, but for once it doesn’t feel like work.

Donning some more incredible colorful artwork (which has become something of an iconic representation of the band), this record is one of those that demands to be turned up loud either at a party or on a pair of headphones. This Tom Tom Club entry is their strongest since their 1982 debut. You immediately get the sense that things just clicked this time around, with each song flowing effortlessly into the next.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

They also aren’t afraid to share the lead vocal duties in an attempt to mix it up and keep things interesting. There’s a guest vocalist by the name of Mystic Bowie who sounds like a cross between Bob Marley and Shaggy on the dancehall/reggae cuts “Time To Bounce” and “Soul Fire,” not to mention Charles Pettigrew, who is a dead ringer for Jermaine Jackson on the loose jam “Holy Water.”  More than any other Tom Tom Club release, this one is packed tight with as many live musicians as it can possibly hold.

With so much going on, they almost didn’t need extra sound effects, but even those are thrown into the mix just to make each song emphatically stand on its own. A fun track like “She’s A Freak” wouldn’t have been the same without those “pinging” sounds you hear going off.  After an exciting and breathless first half, the tempo slows down with the smooth number “C’mon Surrender,” which is salvaged by some spacey effects and minimalist vocals by Pettigrew.

The shimmering electro vibe supplied by Tina Weymouth is at its best on “Who Feelin’ It” and the remake of Donna Summer’s “Love To Love You Baby.” We didn’t know you had it in you, Tina! Things take another retro turn on the equally sexy “Happiness Can’t Buy Money,” especially with the ‘80s-style scratching in the background. Tom Tom Club tips their hat in the B-52’s direction with a classic title like “Lesbians By The Lake,” while “Let There Be Love” is the perfect message to send out to anyone who might be listening.

Unfortunately, The Good, The Bad And The Funky didn’t make much of a ripple when it was originally released. As one of the few TTC discs still available, this album is worth buying. In the world of Tom Tom Club, it’s never too late for a party!

Rating: B

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© 2009 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 Rykodisc, and is used for informational purposes only.