Let me start by saying that Sheila E. & Prince played a HUGE part in my childhood throughout the '80s. My Mother played both artists' albums back to back in rotation, so I got used to both artists very early in life. It's now the new Millennium and I am so honored to possess my very own copy of "In Romance 1600." Because, in my opinion, this is one of the most stupendous albums ever created by Ms. Escovedo! Sheila shows off her talent for the bongos and drums throughout this album, giving you a front row seat to one of the greatest plays on earth!
»1. Sister Fate - 3:50. "Sister Fate" is wild, totally wild. Imagine taking an exciting trip through the Congo, with a sharp turn here, and a rough turn there, never really knowing what lies ahead..that pretty much sums up the overall atmosphere of this recording! There are numerous instruments in play, including blazing bongos, dribbling drums, and a saxophone that tweaks with pure raw energy! Sheila sings about a nasty rumor that has spread, and states verbatim, "I'm gonna leave it up to Sister Fate, destiny, she's the only thing standin' in the way of you and me"...which, judging by her enticing tone, sounds like she is secretly routing on the rumor, hoping the fantasy will soon become reality - (4th favorite song).
»2. Dear Michaelangelo - 4:38. "Dear Michaelangelo" starts out with a dreamy synthesizer, subsequently inviting in the off-beat, 4-step drum-marching method that only Ms. Escovedo can perfect! Also, the saxophone makes another appearance, this time, suited with brassy sass and class! The song is handled beautifully by her vocals and lyrics; lyrics that tell a noble fairy tale of a gorgeous artist whom enjoys painting and pillow talk! - (3rd favorite song)
»3. A Love Bizarre - 12:18. "A Love Bizarre" stands out the most in my childhood memories! I heard this song so many times in the mid '80s, and I remember singing along to it, yelling out "A, B, A, B, C, D" in sync with Sheila lol. Prince lends his voice to this track, giving every note the grand royal treatment, as usual! This high-style number has a runway-stomping beat and an overall scratchy sound. The saxophone makes it's 3rd appearance, sounding so snoody, yet so elegant and sophisticated! Usually, when I listen to this song I imagine a warm summers night, set in Manhattan, in a long stretch limousine, laced with genuine leather exterior, beaming neon side lights, extravagant furs, wild aqua net-drenched hair, and 3-piece french tailored suits, all guided by "the moon up above" and the flow of expensive Dom Perignon -- if only Sheila and Prince had taken the time out to make a music video for this marvelous song, I have a feeling my vision could've developed a possibility - (2nd favorite song)
»4. Toy Box - 5:32. Simply put...MY #1 ABSOLUTE FAVORITE TRACK on this album! The standoff between the bullet-banging drums and the shrill saxophone is mediated by the star-lit keyboard, all together creating a preeminent beat! Sheila's sexually suggestive lyrics give off a cutesy innocence....that is until the end-section, when Sheila can't decide on which fur coat to wear, screaming to the top of her lungs, then grumbling about her diamonds and s***. "Toy Box" was considered a lost song for me because, basically, I remember hearing this track once in '85, and never heard it again until 2008. And I must say, when I heard this song again in '08, it made me shutter with utter happiness! The moment I pressed play, a few seconds in, my brain underwent a major data scan overload, instantly flooring me in the process. Maybe it's my recollection of all the fun and zany memories shared with my friends and family back then, and my Mother playing this song, occasionally. Maybe my equilibrium is undergoing a major mind-scatter. I do know that I am so grateful to have rediscovered this song!
»5. Yellow - 2:11. "Yellow" is a '60s inspired melody, but with an '80s twist! Prince ad-libs in Vs. mode with Sheila, singing on totally opposite spectrums. These two artists always set the bar when they collaborate on a track together, constantly redefining the term perfection!
»6. Romance 1600 - 3:56. Soooo swift; soooo rapid - BEYOND energetic! "Romance 1600" gives you the impression of zooming uncontrollably down a rocky road, with four loose wobbly wheels that are ready to detach at any moment. The drums are pounding non stop, and the synthesizer is scaling to new heights! The beat will whip you around and around, rush you down flat on your back, snatch you up from off of the floor, and demand you to DANCE! - (5th favorite song)
»7. Merci For The Speed Of A Mad Clown In Summer - 2:47. This zesty instrumental is like a jack-in-the-box. In this case, you sit and listen, you wait.............and wait............then finally, the surprise appears. The essence of this track reminds me of a circus or parade, with Sheila, Prince and the entire Revolution as the main attraction - I'd pay ANY amount of money to see that show!
»8. Bedtime Story - 3:45. "Bedtime Story" is a low tempo tune, engulfed with a drowsy essence and an overall blissful melody. Cozy, graceful and truly divine in every way conceivable! The horn plays off of her vocals, together bringing a touch of eroticism! And let me just say that Sheila really shows us fans exactly how versatile she is at attacking a ballad!
When I think of stellar '80s music, Prince and Sheila quickly come to mind, along with so many others who came roaring through that decade! I often think to myself, and at times when I'm dancing my a** off to their music, "Thank God for Sheila E. and Prince." I am thankful for their contribution in shaping the expressive decade into what it was and will remain - a bright, sharp, kinky, shocking, energetic, exciting, colorful, fun-loving decade! Both artists, in my opinion, are the epitome of three words - !!The Nineteen Eighties!! - enough said!