Village People
We Want You: Very Best Of The Village People


1.0
awful

Review

by Pedro B. USER (303 Reviews)
May 31st, 2010 | 27 replies | 5,264 views


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album which will challenge your masculinity...and your sanity.

2 of 3 thought this review was well written

Sometimes, the stupidest ideas are the ones that make you the big bucks. Take the 70’s and 80’s pop world for example. The average “band” there had been created by some two-bit producer with what he thought was a million-dollar idea, relied on some ridiculous gimmick, targeted a very specific audience and had an average shelf life of maybe a couple of years. You’ve seen it countless times – your New Kids On The Blocks, your Milli Vanillis, your Vanilla Ices, most recently your Spice Girls or your Pussycat Dolls. Usually popular for the span of one, maybe two albums, these acts quickly fade into either oblivion or targets for pop-culture sarcasm, until some genre revival suddenly makes them relevant again. Through it all, they struggle to maintain a career and some sort of relevance, usually coming out at the losing end of the battle.

The Village People are just such an act. Relying on a sexual-innuendo-riddled “costume party” gimmick, and targeted straight at the flamboyantly gay audience, the five-piece enjoyed two years at the top of the charts before becoming sitting ducks to the sarcasm of music nerd the world over – a derision which lasts to this day. But in the midst of all the high-horse sneering, the fact is there are very few of those nerds who couldn’t sing the melody or do the choreography to In The Navy or YMCA. Similarly, you’d be hard pressed to find a movie where gay-related jokes or settings did not involve at least one leather-clad biker or buff, topless fireman-helmeted stripper. Heck, Rob Halford himself has been impersonating the biker cliché for years! All of this serves as a testament to the Village People’s impact on modern-day pop-culture, even if the most cultured among us refuse to acknowledge it.

But do the group really deserve all the mocking? Well, at first glance, yes they do. The gimmick is absolutely ridiculous, and the hits, while party-friendly and cheesily fun, are horribly outdated, consisting of the sort of disco sound which soared and petered out over a five-year span. One might, however, have been inclined to spare the group some leniency, in light of the admittedly fun side present in their biggest hits. That feeling, however, would disappear the moment one laid ears on the remainder of the group’s output, as exemplified in We Want You: Very Best Of The Village People. Quite simply, if this is the best, I don’t want to hear the worst.

Again, admittedly, the album does start off well. The group’s perennial favorites appear right off the bat, and they have all the qualities and flaws described earlier. In The Navy is probably the best of the bunch, sounding very similar to the horridly overplayed YMCA, except better. YMCA itself probably takes second billing, immediately conjuring up images of its ridiculous choreography and even more ridiculous video. As for Go West, it is much better remembered for the Pet Shop Boys cover, and rightfully so, since it is superior on every level. Still, this version of it by no means goes to waste, sharing some of the characteristics of its better-known brethren.

Unfortunately, pretty much anything that is good or fun about this record disappears with the end of Go West. What we are left with afterwards is a veritable wasteland of interest, where very sporadic oases are barely enough to save the listener from dehydration. The chorus to Macho Man, for example, is a delight, but ultimately made moot by the horribleness of the song as a whole. Elsewhere, Village People – the song – tries to recapture some of the cheesy fun of In The Navy and YMCA, but comes across sounding too similar to either of them, making it little more than a rehash. Still, compared to the rest of the album, this song is actually a standout.

In fact, most of the non-pop-culture material presented here ranges from insipidly boring to epically awful. Rock bottom is hit on the interminable Sex Over The Phone, a song which could give Milli Vanilli a run for their money, and which for some reason tries to negate the gay image the group thrived on. On the other end of the spectrum is Do You Want To Spend The Night, which sees the band at its gayest, the lead singer purring the titular sentence with all the sensual mellifluousness of a 14-year-old bum boy. Rounding up the trio of horror is Can’t Stop The Music, which Willy Wonka himself might consider a trifle over-sugary.

Fortunately, the remainder of the album is not as horrible, and a very – VERY! – undemanding listener may even derive some fun from the likes of Hot Cop. But ultimately, everything is far too bland to compensate from the moments of scarring horror suffered in previous tracks. And then, of course, there are the heavily innuendo-laced lyrics, which might make the most self-assured of men cringe. The album also includes four remixes for the group’s greatest hits, which do little other than add big dumb electronic beats and prolong the songs to insufferable lengths. Out of the four, the only one that really works is the one for Go West, since it effectively brings it closer to the Pet Shop Boys version.

In short, then, the Village People should probably just be remembered for their two perennial party-favorites. The rest of their material is just universally poor, and not just because of its sonic elements, either. While some of the songs here might make for chuckle-worthy rock covers with the addition of fast and heavy guitars, most of them are too awful for words, and repeat listens will undoubtedly prove scarifying. As an example, it has now been over a week since I’ve last listened to the record, and I’m still purging myself. As for this review, it was one of the most painful I ever had to crank out – yes, even more so than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Half a point added for the fun party hits, but otherwise, stay away. Stay well away.

Recommended Tracks
In The Navy
YMCA
Go West (Remix)



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user ratings (6)
Chart.
2.3
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
ReturnToRock
May 31st 2010



3448 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

One of the hardest record-hunts I ever had to do online...and one of the most fantastically unrewarding.

LepreCon
May 31st 2010



4002 Comments


Wow these guys have more than two songs? Good review, you really have some endurance to review this as well as all that Kiss stuff

Digging: Overkill - White Devil Armory

Dryden
May 31st 2010



12928 Comments


best band ever dont know what ur talking about

ReturnToRock
May 31st 2010



3448 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

What can I say, I'm a masochist....this one nearly had me comatose though...just too much!

Gaythiest
May 31st 2010



141 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album was awesome so fuck you and everyone in your house

LepreCon
May 31st 2010



4002 Comments


Trolls just aren't as funny as they used to be

ThePalaceOfWisdom
May 31st 2010



1134 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

targeted a very specific audience and had an average shelf life of maybe a couple of years. You’ve seen it countless times – your New Kids On The Blocks, your Milli Vanillis, your Vanilla Ices, most recently your Spice Girls


I dunno if the spice girls really fit that description, they were fucking massive and had a pretty fucking wide audience in their heyday.

I also don't see how you can recommend 3 tracks and say that the album is a 1, usually you'd expect a 1 to have absolutely nothng good.

PearlDrummer20
May 31st 2010



1089 Comments


lol & the rating scale...

ConsiderPhlebas
May 31st 2010



6157 Comments


A 1 indicates that the album overall is awful, and an album can be awful with some minor redeeming features, like one or two songs worth listening to.

Cool review.

ThePalaceOfWisdom
May 31st 2010



1134 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

But this actually has 6 good songs.

Mordecai.
May 31st 2010



8277 Comments


shithouse review

ReturnToRock
May 31st 2010



3448 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

The rest of the songs are so atrociously awful, it brings the rating down.

It's as though the three/four good songs were maybe a 1.5/2, and the rest was a -2. In average, it's a 1.

ThePalaceOfWisdom
May 31st 2010



1134 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Macho, macho, Man, I got to be a macho man.

ReturnToRock
May 31st 2010



3448 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

MUCHO, MUCHO MACHO MA-AAAAN!

Nagrarok
May 31st 2010



8197 Comments


WHAAAY EEEEEM CEEEE AAA!

Fugue
May 31st 2010



7352 Comments


First four tracks alone make this worthy of at least a 2. Incidently the Pet Shop Boy's cover of Go West was the first single I ever bought.

Waior
May 31st 2010



11451 Comments


Take the 70’s and 80’s pop world for example. [...] ...our New Kids On The Blocks, your Milli Vanillis, your Vanilla Ices, most recently your Spice Girls or your Pussycat Dolls


Firstly, basically none these groups are considered 80's (and definitely not 70's), they're mostly early 90's groups. I'll second the Spice Girls having a very wide and fervent audience in their time (and a lot of has still stuck around due to nostalgia).

becoming sitting ducks to the sarcasm of music nerd the world over


something is wrong here

All of this serves as a testament to the Village People’s impact on modern-day pop-culture


What impact? You act as if the band irreversibly scarred pop culture... I'm pretty sure all people remember is that the YMCA dance is really fun to do at wedding receptions.

the hits, while party-friendly and cheesily fun, are horribly outdated


Calling a 17 year old album's sound "outdated" is hardly a valid criticism.

the Village People should probably just be remembered for their two perennial party-favorites


they are?

s for this review, it was one of the most painful I ever had to crank out – yes, even more so than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.


This is the kind of commentary that belongs in the first comment, not in the review.

Your reviews are getting better but you still have that insipid, undereducated-but-authoritative tone in all your work. It makes your reviews really fucking annoying to read because it seems you just pick out albums like this so you can shit all over them without anybody caring about your nonchalance. Reviewing something recent would do you good, you need to get out of this marathon of gimmicry. And for god's sake, get your face out of the thesaurus - scarifying, really?

ReturnToRock
May 31st 2010



3448 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I like the word scarifying...as for the Thesaurus, I swallowed it at around age 6 and never did regurgitate it.

Valid comments on the Spice Girls, and so on, although I do feel the Village People made something of a mark on pop culture. Also, they SHOULD just be remembered by those two hits, which means the 3.987 Best-Of compilations out there should not exist. Yet they do.

I pick out albums like this because I genuinely think that some of them may hold a couple surprises up their sleeve. They never do, hence the 1.0 ratings. The exceptions were my #100 and #200 reviews, which were admittedly done for shock value (Vanilla Ice and Milli Vanilli respectively). The rest come out of curiosity.

And what do you mean 'uneducated'!?

Fugue
May 31st 2010



7352 Comments


Holy shit, 209 reviews!!!

Fugue
May 31st 2010



7352 Comments


I mean, I remember reading some of your reviews before, but woah.



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