… And during the few moments that we have left, … We want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand.” — Malcolm X

MTV in the late 80s was in full swing of playing music videos almost exclusively as a 24-hour programming format. Save for the few news, documentary-style, and awards shows…the rest was music videos. If you watched enough you could figure out they were just programming the same 6 to 8 hour blocks over and over, but you didn’t really care. It was an escape.

Living Colour exploded onto the scene in the late 80s, catching the MTV wave with their debut Vivid. You couldn’t escape “Cult Of Personality”, be it on the TV or the radio. I picked the CD up for the same way that people buy most music today. I wanted the single. There was something different about the band, apart from being four African-American guys from New York City, they had a unique sound with a message behind their lyrics.

They wouldn’t turn out to be as political as Rage Against The Machine, but listening to their lyrics appealed to the pop audience at the surface level. Digging deeper, tracks like “Open Letter (To A Landlord)” where they sing about the gentrification of New York’s East Village. There’s a passion in Corey Glover’s voice that brings an extra bit of, not heartache, but something that lets the listener know, “This is important to me and I want you to listen to what I have to say about this matter.”

Vivid is a great rock album. Period. It was a big success for the band. The lyrics are political, and personal. Unfortunately, the band broke up and got back together again after a couple of lineup changes. I think they were chasing after that lightning-in-a-bottle they had with Vivid, and I don’t blame them for trying. Vivid came at the right time, said what it needed to say and didn’t overstay its welcome…and I am happier having been around for it.

1.Cult Of Personality4:55
2.I Want To Know4:24
3.Middle Man3:47
4.Desperate People5:36
5.Open Letter (To A Landlord)5:33
6.Funny Vibe4:20
7.Memories Can't Wait4:31
8.Broken Hearts4:50
9.Glamour Boys3:40
10.What's Your Favourite Color?3:56
11.Which Way To America?3:42