Herbie Hancock: The Bomb


The Bomb


Herbie Hancock (electric piano, synthesizer, background vocals)


Lite Me Up (Sony/BMG 25AP2316)

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Herbie Hancock (electric piano, synthesizer, background vocals),

Wayne Anthony (lead vocals), Edi Lehman, John Lehman, Jim Gilstrap, Patti Austin, Paulette McWilliams (background vocals), Jerry Hey (flugelhorn), Bill Reichenbach, Chuck Findley (trombones), Gary Herbig, Larry Williams (saxes), Michael Boddicker (synthesizer), David Williams (guitar), Louis Johnson (bass), John Robinson (drums)


Composed by Herbie Hancock & Rod Temperton


Recorded: Los Angeles, CA, mid-1981


Rating: 66/100 (learn more)

Featuring smooth production by Heatwave's Rod Temperton ("Always and Forever"), Herbie Hancock's "The Bomb" seems aimed for the charts. Its arrangement would have programmed well on any urban FM station, as its emphasis is on its big-sounding dance beat. The music is better described as R&B, as its relation to jazz is minimal. Lyrics chronicling encounters between men and women at nightclubs are obscured by loud horns and synthesizers, but since the sophomoric storyline is straight out of Beavis and Butt-head ("She's a motion motivator / Filled up with feelings that you want to ignite / A thousand megatons, she's the bomb"), the production is actually one of the track's strengths. "The Bomb"'s sadomasochism is limited in appeal, as the lyrical clichés barely make sense, the composition and production lack passion, and the bridge, which compares a woman to a president leading a nation into war, is downright ugly. Ending with an effect approximating the sound of an exploding atomic bomb, this track would be considered a complete joke without Hancock's 30-second solo, which blends well into the background yet shines brighter than its surroundings. Even with it, though, this uninventive cut signifies the nadir of Hancock's recording career.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary

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