When you have your first certified hit as track #1 on your first album, track #2 becomes really important. Track 2 = What else can this band do?
If track 2 sounds like track 1 – probably a 1-trick pony. If track 2 sounds like a totally different band, well that’s confusing. If track 2 is nice but clearly not a hit, you think one hit wonder.
I Wanna Know, track 2 on Living Colour’s debut is nearly perfect. It counters the track 1 megahit Cult Of Personality with playfulness right off the bat. It isn’t driven by a monster riff and political lyrics but a bouncy bass line and sugar coated setup for a lovey vocal and cutesy guitar riffs in the verses.
Here’s a smoking live version from 2013:
The short cheesy verse moves quickly into the dramatic but nearly monotone hook, then back into a longer verse 2. It’s addictive by the time the 2nd chorus comes around.
When the bridge opens into new parts, including a 50’s style walking bass and a vocal break, I find myself thinking about Cult of Personality and how different that is from this.
Here’s a crap mp3 of the original (which you must own):
As the tight formula for I Wanna Know plays out and the musicians add more flavor, you start to hear the chops behind this song. The solo starts to wail, the rhythm section locks into a funk groove, then begin the long fade out, and concludes a nice little piece of pop/rock /metal.
The monster staccato riff of Middle Man then jumps up and you are sold on this Living Colour. Great album. Vivid indeed.