Angelyne - "Too Much to Touch"/"Emotional"
Most conversation surrounding L.A. pop culture phenom Angelyne is related to her identity as the entertainment mecca's "billboard queen," famous for being famous decades before the likes of the Kardashians and Paris Hilton. Angelyne herself indicated during our 2018 one-on-one with her that she doesn't hold her music endeavors in the same esteem as her billboards, saying "it wasn’t the high that I got when I got the billboard up. That was total success."
But even if Angelyne downplays some of her earlier recordings, we feel strongly they are a worthy - and overlooked - part of her unique story and place in pop culture history. We were understandably thrilled to recently procure one of her 45s that has long been on our list (Angelyne reference intended, of course), the 1981 "Too Much to Touch"/"Emotional" 45 (JAEVI Records). While "Too Much To Touch" appeared on an earlier Angelyne release in 1979 as a one-song 45 (Perfection Records), the version considered here also includes the track "Emotional".
Side A's "Too Much to Touch" offers an unexpected (but logical, given the original 1979 release year) intersection of sax-laden disco, punk rock, and new wave. There is a striking and pleasing busyness to the song's mix, with its wash of synths, crunchy guitars, growling saxophone, ephemeral layered vocals, and thumping drums all competing for attention within a pretty tight arrangement. The synth-driven bridge that seems to come from out of nowhere around 2:24 has a punched-in feel and is a highlight, as is the out-chorus that builds momentum until the final fade.
"Emotional" is a more straightforward rocker - aided by an energetic rhythm section tightly executing ensemble hits - no less likable than its partner track on the record's flip side. The out-chorus (from about 2:19 on) does make one wonder why the song wasn't named "Run" or "Make Me Wanna Run", though its official title possesses its own charm and undeniably has something quite Angelyne about it. The song clocks in at 3:08, but feels even briefer, and stands up to repeated listens. The instrumental breakdown/interlude at around the 2:01 mark is a highlight, and Angeline's characteristic and exclamatory "Woo!" at the song's conclusion is the perfect punctuation to this rare pop culture artifact.
These two Angelyne tracks are worthy in their own rite, but also interesting in that they bridge her earlier recording appearance on the punkier Baby Blue 45 (1978's "Rock n' Roll Rebel"/"Fantasy Man" seven-inch), and her ensuing songs like "Kiss Me L.A." (1982) and "My List" (1983), which explored X-influenced punk and pop/new wave territories, respectively.