One of the most memorable videos on MTV back in 86 featured Robert Palmer with powerful drums, a snarling guitar, and instruments played (mimicked, obviously) by some chic mannequin babes in black dresses, black hair, pale makeup, and rouged lips. That was "Addicted To Love", which became Palmer's first number one hit and helped sales of his ninth album, Riptide, which became his biggest success.
The dreamy slow dance, "island in the sun" aura title track, written by Gus Kahn in 1935, serves as a soft introduction and interlude to what later follows.
"Hyperactive", which became the third single, has a partial melody that sounds like Madonna's "Angel", beginning as it does with Tony Thompson's power drums, Chic co-founder and Power Station producer Bernard Edwards' bass, and Eddie Martinez's crunchy guitars. The woman mentioned in the song is an energetic powerhouse, surprising the narrator, who seems to have a pulse on the corporate world (stock in IBM) and global-minded (a date for lunch in Singapore).
Then comes "Addicted To Love" with vocal arrangements done by Chaka Khan, Thompson's pounding power drums, rhythm keyboards, and the snarling fiery guitar solo his Power Station colleague Andy Taylor, by then late of Duran Duran. The comparison of love to a drug is given in some pointedly clever lyrics: "A one-track mind; you can't be saved/Oblivion is all you crave/If there's some left for you/you don't mind if you do/Oh, you'd like to think you're immune to the stuff, oh yeah."
His cover of blues man Earl King's "Trick Bag" gets a light synth treatment while maintaining the semblance of the original blues motif.
The romantic slow-dance schmaltz of "Get It Through Your Heart" is similar in style to "Riptide." When I first got this, I impatiently waited for this song to hear so I could jam to the next one. Which was...
The funky "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On" proved ex-Time members Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis did well as songwriters even before their association with Janet Jackson. I was too busy nodding to the funky Jam-Lewis arrangements and watching the chic models in the video and only half-wondered whether the guy was a dupe or a cad. Now though, I think that despite his thinking he read the girl right, he may not have done so. This fourth single made it to #2 on Billboard, and was later covered by Mariah Carey on her Glitter album.
"Flesh Wound" is the closest to metal as Palmer will get, with frantically sung lyrics and grating snarly guitar. Then comes the first single which flopped, "Discipline Of Love" which mixes funk with rock. It probably didn't because Thompson doesn't do drums on this number. The chorus is sung accompanying by the same grating guitar on the previous song.
And as it opened the album, a reprise of the title track bids the listener farewell.
Coming as it did after his lead vocals on the Duran Duran side project The Power Station, produced by Bernard Edwards, Riptide, also an Edwards production, was well-placed to give Palmer his chance in the limelight, especially with two Top Five hits. Heavy Nova would be a strong followup, but Riptide got him there.