Kool & The Gang continued the winning streak begun on Ladies Night with Celebrate!, which perfects its predecessor’s subtle disco grooves. Like Ladies Night, the album is built around its sterling title song. “Celebration” is one of the most recognizable songs of all time and it was quickly adopted by the public — first by being used to welcome home the Iran hostages, and then as Walter Mondale’s campaign song. Group leader Ronald Bell was right when he predicted the song would be an “international anthem.” In the shadow of such a universal hit the rest of Celebrate! is bound to disappear, but a closer listen shows the album to be the band’s most consistent effort from this period. “Take It To the Top,” “Morning Star” and “Night People” display the disco formula in its most refined state — lush, smooth, with each layer of sound finely integrated into the one below it, like clockwork. “Just Friends” and “Love Affair” are vehicles for J.T. Taylor’s amiable vocals, and if “Celebration” wasn’t an once-in-a-lifetime single, it’s likely that “Love Festival” would have become the album’s standout hit.

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