Sexual Harrassment | I Need A Freak - 2LP
Release date: 15/1/2021
Quirky-yet-lurid electro funk from Cleveland, 1983 - deluxe reissue , for the first time on double LP, pressed at 45 RPM for maximum DJ-friendliness !
Lynn Tolliver, DJ/Program Director at Cleveland’s WZAK, adopted the pseudonym David Payton in order to keep his musical endeavors separate from his public persona. Sexual Harrassment (misspelled deliberately) was formed as a concept band, with members selected based on appearance and choreographic skill rather than musical ability. Tolliver’s explicit lyrics focused on the central themes of desire and sexual relations. Working at a studio in Akron, he recorded an album of quirky-yet-lurid electro funk, which was released on Heat Records. Tolliver remarks, “I learned as a youngster, sex sells! The things that are rated the worst – violence, horror and sex – are the things people want to see or hear about.” I Need a Freak was a surprise hit, selling over 100,000 copies.
While the album’s naughtier moments seem quaint by contemporary standards, the fusion of lo-fi funk and disaffected vocals still stuns today. On the eternal electro-raunch anthem “I Need a Freak”, minimalism serves to highlight the lasciviousness of the deadpan lyrics, which were inspired by Lourdes Figueroa, Tolliver’s girlfriend at the time. Tolliver’s whimsy shines on tracks like “If I Gave You a Party” and “K.I.S.S.I.N.G.”, which contrast nursery rhyme structures with decidedly R-rated lyrics. “Exercise Your Ass Off” lampoons the home exercise craze, but with a more-than-suggestive sexual bent. Also included are two bonus cuts, “We Want Prince” and “These Are The Things That I Like”, previously released as singles in 1984 and 1986, respectively. “We Want Prince” is both a homage to the Purple one and a gentle satire of obsessive fandom.
I Need A Freak has been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The album comes in a gatefold sleeve featuring the original artwork. Included are lyrics, photos, and liner notes by Lynn Tolliver and drummer Dale Jackson. Tolliver’s sly provacateurship is best captured by the quote: “It’s funny – without sex, mankind is dead, yet we hide the very thing we need.”