Stella Monye - "Satisfaction Guaranteed"
Stella Monye's a singer who hit the scene in the mid-1980s, just as my once-voracious appetite for Nigerian pop music was fast waning. So yeah, I wasn't really into this song when it came out... Why then has it suddenly taken occupation of my headspace 20 years later and doggedly refused to vacate?
It's actually a pretty good song, I think... It's just that as a record, it's emblematic of the malaise that gnawed through the Naija music scene after 1984 or so. The recording industry--like the rest of the Nigerian economy--had shrunken drastically; the (relatively) rich and buoyant production values that characterized much Nigerian pop in the post-Oil Boom era dissipated as records began to sound increasingly cheap, threadbare and slapdash.
I mean, can you believe that this rinky-dink production is credited to Lemmy Freakin' Jackson? The Quincy Jones of Nigeria? In '83 this record would have been furnished with lush strings, a punchy horn section and glossy choral overdubs and Jake Sollo seasoning the sauce with some spicy guitar licks. Come '85 and it sounds like it was recorded on a Casiotone in someone's kitchen, with the houseboy chanking away on an old guitar (whose strings he had to scrape with pumice to get the rust off) and Jake Sollo is listed as "Drum programmer."* (The bass work is decent, though.)
Stella Monye is a highly idiosyncratic and somewhat dramatic vocalist, given to fits of frenzy that often cause her to forget to sing directly into the microphone. (Or did Jackson just mike her distantly because of her tendency to shout a la Berry Gordy's treatment of Florence Ballard?) She's much more interesting live than she's ever been on record, though.
But yeah... I digs this record. I think. All week I've been just jamming it in my head, and it's starting to ("...got my rules... and conditions...") drive me crazy so I figured ("I've got everything... all the tools...") that if I posted it here, I might be able to ("...I! promise! you! SAAAA-TEES-FAC-TION!") exorcise myself of it.
What you think? Does it bring you satisfaction? Or something else?
*I think this might have been one of the last records he worked on before his death, too. Shame.
Edit 10/3/08: I think this record was released in 1985, not '86... I fixed that.