Must Own Heavy Metal Hard Rock Albums :
Artist : Living Colour
Album : Vivid
Released : May 4, 1988
Metal Mofo Album Rating : 5/5 (A Landmark Funk/Metal Album)
With the exception of the song “Welcome To The Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses, no other song truly had the shock and awe effect on the radio, and music television as “Cult Of Personality” did from Living Colour. It almost immediately turned an “all black” group into a relevant metal band, and probably taught many people more important quotes from world leaders in just over four minutes than years, and years of school did. Not that it was an easy ride before that for the band. Formed in 1984, many times they weren’t taken seriously as a hard rock or metal band because they were black, but once you truly gave them chance you saw they had what it took.
Led by main songwriter, and guitar player Vernon Reid, who was obviously influenced by artists like Jimi Hendrix, and Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy who proved that black people could not just succeed, but become legendary figures in Rock music, he formed the “Black Rock Coalition” to seek out other black musicians. He would eventually find vocalist Corey Glover, Bass player Muzz Skillings, and drummer Will Calhoun, all (just like the members of Dream Theater) from the Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts. They would begin working on what would be their debut record Vivid, getting help from the legendary Frontman of The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger who loved their sound. He would produce a few tracks, and then invite the band to open shows for The Stones on their Steel Wheels tour.
It shouldn’t be surprising that this record has aged as well as it has. Musically it was very deep, not only showing hard rock, and metal influences, but also many different types of genres, including r&b/hip-hop, basically inventing the “funk metal” genre that ironically would become very popular once they broke up for the first time in the early 2000’s. In fact their timing always seemed to be wrong, but that’s what made them so great. When vivid came out this very week in 1988, we had never really heard a record like this before. That’s why they needed a legendary song like “Cult Of Personality” to break. But don’t be fooled, that is far from the only highlight on this album. From the excellent “Middle Man” to the Zeppelin sounding “Desperate People” to even the very touching “Open Letter (To A Landlord) this record still holds up, and is a great example of what good music was in the 1980s.
All songs written by Vernon Reid, except where noted.
1 Cult of Personality (Reid, Skillings, Glover, Calhoun) – 4:54
2 I Want to Know – 4:24
3 Middle Man (Glover, Reid) – 3:47
4 Desperate People (Calhoun, Reid, Glover, Skillings) – 5:36
1 Funny Vibe – 4:20
2 Memories Can’t Wait (David Byrne, Jerry Harrison) – 4:30
3 Broken Hearts – 4:50
4 Glamour Boys – 3:39
5 What’s Your Favorite Color? (Reid, Glover) – 3:56