Jheri Curl June: Kool & The Gang’s “Fresh”

Kool & The Gang is yet another ’70s funk band that sustained themselves through the changing landscape of ’80s R&B with their ability to adapt to the times. I mean, just listen to anything off 1973’s Wild and Peaceful, and then consider that “Ladies’ Night” (which, by the way, will always be THE fucking jam) came out just six short years later. Of course, any group that lasts 30+ years will have some stylistic changes; but what is so surprising about Kool & The Gang is that they were initially a tight jazz/funk outfit. Anyone whose sole knowledge of Kool & The Gang is their disco late-’70s-funk-hit-turned-’90s-elementary-school-party-song “Celebration” will be confused as hell when they hear the group at their jazziest on Live at P.J’s. I mean, there’s a fucking flute on that album.

1984’s Emergency, meanwhile, proved that Kool & The Gang could definitely pull off Jheri Curl Music–as well as jheri curls on their heads–while also, in the video to “Fresh,” depicting one of the weirdest adaptations of Cinderella I’ve ever seen:

Like, I’m not sure why the step sisters are eating barbed wire burgers. I’m also not sure why the fairy godmother is a Marilyn Monroe lookalike who throws a grenade that turns into a party dress. But just the fact that Cinderella busts into the party and immediately strips down to her leotard and starts hip thrusting is enough to make this my favorite version of the fairy tale. It definitely has the best soundtrack.

Oh, and her heels have spurs on them.  That IS fresh.





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