Missing Persons – Spring Session M

1982 Capitol Records

I know some of you are laughing at me for this, but your laughs fall upon deaf ears.  Yes, Missing Persons was unabashedly commercial new wave pop, but there was something about their debut album that was just miles ahead of the other image-based pop of the early 80’s era.

Lead singer Dale Bozzio attracted more attention for her very revealing stage attire than for her voice.  I have to admit that her quirky, hiccupy singing has a certain personality to it that I think works magic here.  Or it could be the hormones talking as she was the very first fully naked woman I ever saw as an adolescent boy in a certain girly magazine.

I remember as a teenage metalhead walking into Record Bar (anyone remember THAT store?) just as the first notes of album opener “Noticeable Ones” came forth ethereally from the store sound system and being riveted first by the sound of heavy guitar on a new wave song then by the sight of Dale Bozzio in all her new wave glory on the cover of the album.

It was a great leadoff track for one of the greatest new wave albums.  “Windows,” “Walking In LA,” “It Ain’t None of Your Business,” and CD bonus track “Mental Hopscotch” provide some of the catchiest melodies and atmospheres, while the classic “Words” always finds itself on any given 80’s pop “Best of’ list.

The individual talent in the band is undeniable, drummer Terry Bozzio being a Zappa veteran, Warren Cuccarullo later adding his talent to the Duran Duran sound and bassist Patrick O’Hearn going on to make a name for himself in the realm of new age music.  All of this talent combined to create a truly magic moment in new wave pop.

It was all downhill for the band after this, as neither ‘Rhyme and Reason’ nor ‘Color In Your Life’ did anything to build on the promise of ‘Spring Session M.’   There were some charming qualities to the new wave sound, and all of them are on this disc…testimony to commercial music being crafted in the hands of really good musicians.

Rating:  4 out of 5