Review by Glenn O'Brien in Interview Magazine, February 1982, p.72


It's been about a year since the last CHIC album. Since then, half of the dance bag bands, in the world have come to resemble-uncannily-the Chic of two or three years ago, something that gives the originators some major mixed emotions. But it's only logical that this prime mover band would have moved into some new prime sonic real estate by now even if their old licks weren't so widely cloned. So the new Chic thing, Take it Off, finds the leaders of the pack outdoing their old selves.
Being the new godfathers of the new funk, it's only natural that they would concentrate on basics and dance-motivating material-especially since some of their recent production projects-JOHNNY MATHIS, DIANA ROSS and DEBBIE HARRY-contained a lot of strong ballad and production number stuff. Take It Off is stripped-down Chic: no strings, and the occasional horns are lean and more up front.
The strongest dance numbers lead off the album. "Stage Fright" is he latest development of the famous Chic stutter dynamics, BERNARD EDWARDS pops out the essential beat, half of it by brilliant implication, giving just what you need to know, letting his fingers do the walking and your rhythm imagination the rest. NILE RODGERS scratches in the bop dynamics in the intervals, laying the melody right on the rhythm. TONY THOMPSON's drumming is rock solid but full of little slippery surprises. LUCI MARTIN and ALFA ANDERSON are at the top of their voices, delivering with precision, enunciating on the beat, harmonizing with a perfect hard-edged interval-their solos say everything in intonation, here its urgency and expectation. "Stage Fright" is a really true-to-life composition, working as autobiography and fantasy simultaneously, depending on where you stand.
"So Fine" is a Chic-operated time warp jazz ditty that's primarily a vehicle for Nile's adult entertainment prime time jazz variations, sophisticatedly wrapped around the quick-change art bottom delineated by Bernard and Tony. Nile serves a tray of fine art hors d'oeuvres here, little tastes of real delicacies that would make GEORGE BENSON drool from hunger. "Flash Back" is a wonderful dub ballad most sensitively and soulfully sung by Bernard over a spare track that's mainly his perfect lovequake bass, with some very grand piano touches and a lovely soul powered Luci and Alfa chorus. Nile is out for a smoke until the end when appears in time for a great low key delicatedly rocking, quitely funking, elegantly jazzing solo. This great song shows you what a great bass can do almost alone and how great a low male voice can be with solo bass accompaniment. Bernard may give BARRY WHITE heart failure with this one.
"Your Love Is Cancelled" is bopping, stop-start-stop-pop. Nile sings this one walking the line between sincere and droll, joking on a serious subject. It's a Chic version of bubble gum, punctuated with "Last Concorde to Clarkesville" organ, ragging scientifically the poppest pop. "Would You Be My Baby" is a great ladies' torch tune, sexy, teased and teasing. Alpha (sic!) takes the lead cooing, whining and wailing provocation and singing in great sisterhood-is-soulful tandem on the chorus with Luci. Throughout, the micro-beats are marked by some great keyboard stroking halfway between the schools of "Standing In the Shadows of Love" and "Feel Up," and therefore totally original. "Take It Off" is a modified disco beat stomp, more straight ahead than the usual Chic dance tune arrangement: wise and word-wise, getting directly to the point. "I understand that clothes don't make the man, so I'll take them off." In the great stripper tradition, this tune has superior horn lines, here stripped down sections of funk punctuation. Tony and Bernard provide heavy duty basics, Nile cooks on the chickas, and the boys and girls engage in functional dialog getting to the best of points. Later on, Bernard goes wildly tribal, plunking out a steamroller line that will drive the uptown spinners ape. Here's some powerful new support for PRINCE's "I Wish We All Were Nude" declaration.
"Baby Doll" is a cool, sophisticated soul bop anthem instrumental. Bernard puts down foundation-like roots, Tony rocks, the super Chic horn contractors run the melody down, and Nile goes Stax funky plucking out a hip line. Then MR. BRECKER comes in and wails his sax in Manhattan soul stew style, taking it to the limit and detouring around it, and the groove comes back and rolls along till it's time to go. Now Chic has everything, even a break song. And while they do what they're best known for superbly, that is, make dance music that's highly contagious, Chic takes this opportunity to show that they do everything else as well. They rock, they bop, they do the jazz and the funky Chic one, they make jungle music for Park Avenue and cool jazz for the jungle and everything good in between. A winner and still champ..././...