Andre Cymone

  • Andre Cymone
  • Livin' in the New Wave (Columbia) 1982 
  • Survivin' in the '80s (Columbia) 1983 
  • AC (Columbia) 1985 

An early member of Prince’s touring ensemble, Cymone did his own “look ma, no band” musical crossover LP in 1982. Less horny and inspired than his former employer’s contemporaneous approach, Cymone is nonetheless a strong contender in his own right and seems exhilarated (note the title of his first album) by the possibilities inherent in the same area of musical commingling.

Although Survivin’ in the 80’s still shows a lot of Prince’s influence (especially imagewise — check the costumed male/female black/white band photo on the cover), Cymone is working more typical dancefloor terrain than the Purple One, with processed vocals and mild scratch production adjusting the slow funk grooves of numbers like “Make Me Wanna Dance” and “Body Thang.” Slick and functional, but no creative landmark.

Back on his own in the studio, Cymone created AC with only skimpy outside assistance. Prince wrote and co-produced one easily recognizable track (“The Dance Electric”) that also features backing vocals by Wendy and Lisa; Cymone allowed others to add a few jots of percussion and vocals as well. Otherwise, Cymone remains perfectly capable — like his ex-boss — of working easily and independently in a number of styles, from languid reflection (“Pretty Wild Girl”) to pretty balladry (“Sweet Sensuality”) to kinetic dance music (“Book of Love,” “Satisfaction”).

Although Cymone hasn’t made a record under his own name in a while, his full-service production/writing work with Jody Watley and Adam Ant has kept him busy and successful through the late ’80s.

[Jim Green / Ira Robbins]