Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Don’t You Forget About Me: Ready for the World’s “Digital Display”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on January 21, 2007

Don?t You Forget About Me realizes that the memory of the general public is not limitless, still, there are plenty of works that have fallen through the cracks of popular consciousness that deserve at least one more glance before being forgotten completely, this column hopes to remind you about some of them.

I had never even heard of Ready for the World before they were repeatedly name-checked in Twista & Kanye West’s “Slow Jamz“. Turns out they were a nifty little 80s funk band (who used to be pretty popular, too–“Oh Sheila” even went to #1) who probably served to function as The Next Best Thing to Actual Prince back when he was doing his bizarre mid-late 80s album experiments–the synths, the vocal inflections, the super-fake drums, the panting,–all scream classic-era Purple. Even better than “Oh Sheila” is this little number, though–“Digital Display,” a #21 hit in 1985, and one that I’ve never heard mentioned anywhere. It’s a shame, though–the song presents a truly fascinating mix of “Computer Games”-style synth-pop futurism and an unstobble, hypnotic Gap Band-reminiscent groove. The lyrics are fairly nonsensical (lots of “let me play / with your digital display” type gems), but the slow and low singing of vocalist Martin Riley fit the funk beautifully, and together, the song is one of the most underrated dance gems of the 80s.

Oh, and “Love You Down” is pretty good too, I guess this is what earned them the Twista name drop.


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