Grace Jones ‎– Living My Life

Label:
Island Masters ‎– IMCD 18
Format:
CD, Album, Reissue
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Tracklist Hide Credits

1 My Jamaican Guy
Written-By – G. Jones*
6:00
2 Nipple To The Bottle
Written-By – G. Jones*, S. Dunbar*
5:55
3 The Apple Stretching
Written-By – Melvin Van Peebles
6:55
4 Everybody Hold Still
Written-By – B. Reynolds*, G. Jones*
3:10
5 Cry Now - Laugh Later
Written-By – B. Reynolds*, G. Jones*
5:00
6 Inspiration
Written-By – B. Reynolds*, G. Jones*
4:35
7 Unlimited Capacity For Love
Written-By – B. Reynolds*, G. Jones*
5:45

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes

℗ 1982 Island Records Inc.
© 1982 Island Records Inc.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 5 014474 091827
  • Matrix / Runout: S IMCD 18 01

Other Versions (5 of 63) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
204 753-320, 204 753 Grace Jones Living My Life(LP, Album) Island Records, Island Records 204 753-320, 204 753 Europe 1982 Sell This Version
7 90018-4 Grace Jones Living My Life(Cass, Album) Island Records 7 90018-4 US 1982 Sell This Version
IMCD 18, 842 615-2, 842615-2 Grace Jones Living My Life(CD, Album, RE) Island Masters, Island Records, Island Records IMCD 18, 842 615-2, 842615-2 Europe Unknown Sell This Version
404 753, 404 753-352 Grace Jones Living My Life(Cass, Album) Island Records, Island Records 404 753, 404 753-352 Europe 1982 Sell This Version
LAE-518 Grace Jones Living My Life(LP, Album) Island Records LAE-518 Mexico 1983 Sell This Version

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IanPhillips1979

IanPhillips1979

May 9, 2016

Firstly, I have to admit that as much as I enjoy 'Living My Life', this is my least favourite in the trilogy that Grace Jones recorded with Sly & Robbie at the Compass Point Studios in Jamaica. It just doesn't quite manage to scale the heights that the critically-acclaimed 'Nightclubbing' (1981) and the still-superb 'Warm Leatherette' (1980) albums were able to hit. On saying that, 'Living My Life' certainly has its moments with the outstanding tracks 'Nipple To The Bottle', 'My Jamaican Guy', 'The Apple Stretching', 'Unlimited Capacity For Love' and 'Inspiration'. Regardless of it being the weakest in the much-lauded trilogy (which, of course, is just my own humble opinion), 'Living My Life' stands as a solid piece of work, deeming it essential to any Grace Jones fan. There's plenty to recommend here and it must be noted that the whole sound of this album was groundbreaking for its time.

Produced by Alex Sadkin and Chris Blackwell, what does set this project apart from its two predecessors is that there's only one cover version here ('The Apple Stretching') while the rest showcase the songwriting talents of Jones herself, a skill at which she proves herself most adept as riveting songs like 'Nipple To The Bottle' and 'Everybody Hold Still' prove. Just as on 'Warm Leatherette' and 'Nightclubbing', those two renowned reggae wizards Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespere play on each session, with Sly credited for playing the drums and syndrums (Sly also co-wrote the classic 'Nipple To The Bottle' with Grace) and Robbie on that cracking bass guitar. Other top-notch musicians jamming away include Barry Reynolds (who co-wrote many of the songs with Grace) and Mikey Chungy on guitars, Wally Badarou on keyboards and Uzziah Thompson on the pounding, heavy percussion.

'Living My Life' (1982) opens with the six minute delight 'My Jamaican Guy' (written solely by Grace Jones and based on a member of Bob Marley's group The Wailers whom she had fallen in love with), a sparse but sprightly arranged reggae/funk/new wave/soul mid-tempo ballad. And just listen to that glorious opening on the track - way ahead of its time and still sounds cool today, a fact reflected in the number of times it has been sampled by others. 'My Jamaican Guy' is not least complimented by a striking vocal performance from Grace where she alternately sounds deep, evocative and at times, fiery and aggressive. The track certainly had ample commercial potential and was released as a single, scoring Grace another international hit.

'My Jamaican Guy' is swiftly followed by the bouncy, super-infectious 'Nipple To The Bottle'. While echoing the sounds of her classic hit Pull Up To The Bumper, it still emerges as unique and distinct within itself. Hosting a startling combination of reggae-funk-soul-new wave, Nipple To The Bottle is lyrically fun (riddled with double entendres just as on Pull Up To The Bumper) and musically diverse with some odd yet compelling synchronised sound effects, zooming in and out sporadically. Grace's stirring delivery is assertive, moody and soulful and this undoubtedly ranks as one of her definitive classics and the ultimate highlight of this project.

Her endearing cover version of 'The Apple Stretching' (Michael Van Peebles) depicts life in "sunny" New York. Capturing a raw, half-spoken, half-sung performance by Grace, 'The Apple Stretching' perfectly demonstrates Grace's unquestionably natural musical flair. This was released alongside 'Nipple To The Bottle' as a double A-side single, quickly securing Grace another international hit.

More immediate and upbeat is the boisterous 'Everybody Hold Still' (Grace Jones and Barry Reynolds), telling a tale of a day in the life of Grace where things start off badly, rapidly go downhill and then to top it off she gets involved in a hold-up! Extraordinary song to say the least, crackling with dry wit, and is another contagious number. Grace's spirited performance makes this more than memorable.
The rhythmically divine 'Cry Now-Laugh Later' (Grace Jones and Barry Reynolds) is an instantly catchy affair, telling another tale of crime. Graces unique voice is effectively synchronised throughout this sparsely-arranged, funky little number.

Even smoother is the excellent 'Inspiration' (Grace Jones and Barry Reynolds) a track that at points is reminiscent of the song 'Breakdown' from 1980's Warm Leatherette, containing a similarly dreamy, mellow, mesmerising arrangement that escalates and ignites on the chorus and bridge.' Inspiration' also holds more bizarre sound effects that all add to the intensity of the swirling atmosphere. The terrific final cut 'Unlimited Capacity For Love' rounds the album off nicely, featuring a captivating performance from Grace and great arrangements, including a non-stop drum machine that rolls on and on throughout the track.

For me the only very minor flaw is that much of 'Living My Life' has a noticeably more commercial sound than 'Warm Leatherette' and 'Nightclubbing'. There's definitely undercurrents of pop flowing through tracks such as 'Cry Now-Laugh Late'r and 'Unlimited Capacity For Love' both of which are smacked with a distinctly 1980's sound. Not a complaint as such as both are solid tracks just by comparison to the rest of the album, they haven't aged quite as well. Even so, after over thirty years and still much of 'Living My Life' sounds impressively way ahead of its time. The fact that it was slightly more commercial was reflected in its success, particuarly in Britain where it flew into the Top 20, peaking at #15 and enjoying a lengthy run on the chart. It's just a shame Grace hasn't always been rewarded with the commercial success she so richly deserves. But she's always been somewhere between pop and avant-garde so she's not for everyone, but it's admirable how she hasn't compromised her weird, often ethereal art for the sake of being commercial.

Overall, 'Living My Life' is another excellent and essential Grace Jones album, encapsulating highly original and extraordinary, exceedingly diverse material, delivered with spirit, passion and fire by its legendary star.

Ian Phillips
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