Rolling Stone Magazine Review by STEPHEN HOLDEN


Diana Ross "diana"
and Chic's "Real People"

Just when it seemed that Chic's brand of minimalist dance music had exhausted its moment, along comes Diana, an album that relocates the concept. Whereas the imaginary milieu of song-writer-producer-instrumentalists Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers' LPs with Chic and Sister Sledge was indoor, decorative and nihilistic. Edwards and Rodgers' Diana evokes the out-door rough-and-tumble of a playground jungle gym. Diana Ross' "Upside Down." "I'm Coming Out" and "Have Fun (Again)" jump with a spring-shift momentum that's so kinetic there's no time to muse about the transience of things. The hooks, which closely approximate children's chants, are pointedly syncopated to resemble spontaneous outbursts instead of foreshortened melodies. Ross' reedy soprano conveys the spirit of child's play with amazing ease as she converts the emotion of The Boss, her last record, into pure rhythmic energy.

Real People, Chic's fifth album, pales by comparison. Neither Alfa Anderson nor Luci Martin can match Ross' buoyancy, and there isn't a single cut as compelling as last summer's "Good Times." Still, Real People has its highlights. "Open Up," an instrumental, sets a Gershwin-like orchestral fragment to the same stop-start format that runs through Diana. "Rebels Are We" is typically tongue in Chic, with its syntactic inversion of the title phrase intoned by a chorus that sounds about as rebellious as a bunch of mannequins. Generally, however, the group's blasé irony has turned rancid. "I Got Protection," which compares love to VD, and "26," a sendup of the Bo Derek rating system, manage to be snide without being catchy.

Obviously, Edwards and Rodgers have worn out high fashion as a theme. Diana's gimmick–gymnastic dance rock–should be good for a few more fresh-sounding LPs before it, too, wears thin.