A “kool” and experimental album to add to their classic discography
Kool & The Gang, a New Jersey band formed in the late ’60s, released their newest album since the 1980s titled Perfect Union. The creators of classics like “Jungle Boogie” and “Summer Madness” made a comeback much different than the rest of their discography. Energetic, blaring horns and frantically loud choruses cradle their ’70s, as well as today’s, hits while also incorporating more modern sounds to produce a consistent audience.
The first single and track of the album, “Sexy (Where’d You Get Yours)” is one of the few tracks with fragments of disco-funk beats and rhythm. However, new elements from the group were sprinkled throughout the song, making its way to the adult R&B charts. With its sensual sound combining a chill, foot-tapping vibe, this single was a fresh release to experimenting as a band.
More evidence of differences from their past to the present shine in “Pursuit of Happiness.” The most interesting aspect of this track is the rap break towards the last minute of the song. If it isn’t obvious, rap verses in funky music of the ’70s weren’t very common. This was a bold choice to make in the production of the album, considering how conflicting it is to their known style.
“The Weekend” stays true to guitar chords and head-bobbing melodies of ’70s music. However, despite how familiar and strong they are in funk music, the song is more modest than others. The lyrics, vocals and rhythm are on the more conventional side, where it feels as if the full potential for the track wasn’t fully met. Cutting close to their ’70s output once again, “Leave It On The Dance Floor” is just as danceable as one would imagine with its title. This track repeats the same consistent ’70s characteristics with its guitar, beats and rhythm.
“High” and “All To Myself” embody a soulful sound that kicks off with old-school funk then smoothly blends towards a more adult soulful/contemporary one. Regardless of the fresh, soulful lyrics (and softer instrumentals), these songs reminisce about Kool & The Gang’s golden days where music was fun and playful.
Overall, Perfect Union is a solid album that showcases a level of depth and complexity that Kool & The Gang didn’t fully tap into at the peak of their popularity. It doesn’t have the same exuberant energy as their pasts, but it does have decades of skill in the present.