Me! I Disconnect From You
3:30 min • Island Records • April 28, 2014
John Preston reviews
Has there ever been a more perfect and fitting song title for Grace Jones than ‘Me! I Disconnect From You’? During her most prolific and creative period with Island records and the Compass Point Allstars in the early ’80s it’s recently come to light that such a track was in fact recorded. And only now, some 30 years later, do we finally get to hear it. As one of two new tracks from the long overdue Nightclubbing album reissue, the prospect of Jones covering Gary Numan and Tubeway Army’s seminal album track (it was the first song on their classic 1979 Replicas album) and inhabiting Numan’s paranoid and alienating account of machine domination, is indeed a tantalising one. Now that the song has finally been dusted down and rescued from the 1981 vaults maybe Jones interpretation doesn’t sound quite as other worldly as one might have imagined.
The rhythm track is twitchy and nervy and features an unnatural sounding bird tweet that is also prominent in Jones earlier cover version of ‘The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game’ from Warm Leatherette. It’s undeniably fluid and funky but is also a stock Sly and Robbie groove rather than an essential one; although stock Sly and Robbie beat most musicians’ best, so that in itself is not a complaint. Grace herself sounds great and it’s such a thrill to hear her sing lines such as, “I was walking up the stairs, something moved in silence. I could feel his mind decaying, only inches away from me”. And she is singing. This is isn’t one of her dead-eyed narratives, as perfected in ‘Walking in The Rain’ and ‘Private Live’. Her voice is urgent and panicked here but there is a sadness in her delivery too. But those expecting a possessed ‘She’s Lost Control’ or a ‘Bullshit’ devouring Grace will not find her here. It isn’t sinister, it is an oddly and unexpected warm sounding arrangement.
To have access to this now is, for the Jones fan at least, a treat indeed. The only other unheard track is believed to be an original composition called ‘If You Wanna Be My Lover’. Nightclubbing is indisputably Jones strongest and most cohesive work to date, it still startles with it’s freshness and relevance today. ‘Me! I Disconnect From You’ fits the themes of this album perfectly, but was maybe rightly excluded from its final track listing. Every track of the nine was a superior work within it’s own right and existed within the framework of the album or as a stand alone track. There is a dominant riff in the Numan original for example that is incorporated in the Jones version, but is rendered as somewhat trivial and thin sounding here as this just doesn’t match up to the sonic mighty of Nightclubbing‘s best tracks. If it had a home it would be on the less challenging and confrontational of Jones’ three Compass Point albums, Living My Life. It is a joy to have this very late gift from Grace Jones though and if her ageless Nightclubbing is something you haven’t already experienced them I suggest you do so in its fully remastered glory next month.