Sex Appeal – Georgio (1987)

Sexappeal cover art
Sexappeal cover art

At about the time Around the World in A Day came out, Prince upped his game with surprising twists of sophistication to his sound and image. Meanwhile, his ever changing personas were more than enough fodder for the countless would be stars to base a career off of. One of them was Georgio.

Somehow the planets aligned, making Minneapolis Minnesota the epicenter of an odd Afro-Anglo melting pot. Where else in the US could so many talented  negros with Italian names have come from? Was it the city’s artic winters or were they drawn to the Twin Cities to get Prince’s attention? For Georgio, it was the last option. Georgo was actually born there and like many aspiring artists he returned to the city and tried to get a record contract with Prince’s Pasiely Park label. When that fell through, undeterred young Georgio Allentini went to Motown records where he released his debut Sex Appeal.

Georgio, like myself at the time was in his early 20s, but somehow he appeared as  a fully formed androdious supermodel with long hair and abs.  It was a look that would be informed mostly by his obvious role models, Prince and Terence Trent D’Arby.

The album burst on the scene on the strength of “Lover’s Lane”, a song that combined Prince’s androdgny with D’Arby’s raw sex appeal in a way that made Georgio stand out if not momentarily from the hords of Prince look and sound-alikes.

Musically, Georgio was closer to Prince or more specifically any number of Prince-like artists on Arista or A&M records. Female moans on songs like “Sexappeal” were about as deep as any metaphysical meanings would go. Such bedroom noises were the typical sound effects Georgio used, while the heavily produced digital percussion was one of the albums sonic hallmarks.

Besides “Lover’s Lane”, a few other tracks stood out. “Tina Cherry” was a big dance and club hit while “¼ 2 9” was a minor R&B hit and possibly the album’s best song. For whatever good there was about Georgio’s debut, it sank into the sea of purple clone albums from what was no shortage of artists and record labels who wanted that “Prince” sound.

Like many people, I simply lost interest in Georgio’s music, mostly because I assumed he stopped recording when the charts no longer cared. After his second album Georgio in 1988, his career took a dive into obscurity.The sound embargo was not intentional, because a more mature Georgio would continue to recording with occasional success.

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