Bargain Bin Adventures: The Discovery of Bardeux

About two weeks ago, I found myself in the not unusual position of being elbows deep in the dusty vinyl bargain bins at a record shop. More specifically Generation Records, a somewhat sizable CD and vinyl shop located in downtown SoHo.

Almost immediately unimpressed by the generous collection of overpriced rock albums on the main floor, my good friend Sam and I soon found ourselves wandering downstairs, where they kept the other genres. ‘The unmentionables,’ they were referred to, no doubt, as there–hidden in the “2 for $1” bins–was none other than an urban pop goldmine.

Amongst my finds, from Fantasia‘s “Hood Boy” to Kelly Rowland‘s “Can’t Nobody,” was a weathered vinyl named Bold As Love by a girl group called Bardeux. The cover seemed promising, as did the producer’s name featured on the back: Jon St. James, responsible for Stacey Q‘s “Two of Hearts.”

And so I took it home, having no idea who or what a Bardeux was, and immediately put the needle on it.

Thanks to an incredibly informative article on the wonderful blog, The Isle of Deserted Popstars, I found out that the group was about as unknown then as it is now; a brief, flopped girl group experiment that resulted in just two albums within two years and only one “hit” single–but more on that song in a bit.

As a whole, the record is a fun, throwaway foray into the early beginnings of modern dance-pop; entirely reminiscent to Stacey Q’s sound, thanks to the stuttering vocals and cheesy ’80’s techno-pop Casio keyboard production.

Songs like “Sex Machine” and “Hold Me Hold Me” ride on top of smooth, dreamy whisps of Italo disco, while others like “Magic Carpet Ride” verge into an early Madonna territory, sadly relying upon a sugary sweet sound about five years past its prime.

There is, however, one song that has stuck completely with me: “When We Kiss,” the group’s only major success, having reached the dizzying peak of #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988. (To their credit, their previous singles all made a rumbling on the Billboard Dance Charts as well.)

“When We Kiss” hit me completely off guard when I first heard it: It’s sensual, understated, and just the right chilly touch of moody ’80’s electronica. With it’s tripping beat and half-rapped verses, there’s also something distinctly “urban” about the song–or at the very least an attempt to sound so. You know, like a Cheryl Cole album track.

There was just something about this song’s chorus–the minimal lyrics (“But when we kiss…”), the solemn strut of the beat, and that somewhat haunting, somewhat cheesy saxophone solo that absolutely slayed me. It’s a track very much ahead of its time, and one that I’ve had on heavy repeat ever since I first heard it coming out of my record player.

“When We Kiss” simply begs to be re-recorded today, especially by an icy electro princess of some kind.

Annie? Cassie? Nicola Roberts?! I’m looking directly at you all. Seriously.

Kelly Rowland: Rose Colored Glasses (Video Premiere)

Kelly Rowland: Rose Colored Glasses (Video Premiere)

I guess by “hits VEVO on September 20,” they actually meant

Remembering the Classics: A Pussycat Dolls Song Penned by Lady Gaga

Remembering the Classics: A Pussycat Dolls Song Penned by Lady Gaga

Ask any stranger/homeless person on the street, and they’ll tell you the

You May Also Like