“The Boss” by Diana Ross (1979)

And now we go from one “Boss” to another.

Diana’s not particularly known as an albums artist, and there’s a good reason for that: most of her full-lengths are incredibly heavy with filler. Even when Marvin and Stevie were releasing classic albums for Motown in the early ‘70s, Diana didn’t bother too much to make album-length statements. They were generally multi-writer, multi-producer affairs without much continuity.

Not the case with The Boss, which was written and produced by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson and released at the height of the disco era. It’s one of Diana’s best albums alongside the Lady Sings The Blues soundtrack and 1980’s diana. The title track finds Miss Ross at her most ebullient and vocally unrestrained, as evidenced by her Michael Jackson-like “woo”s in the bridge. Nick & Val have certainly gotten their props for being great writers, but they might be a bit underrated as producers. They gave Diana great material to sing and produced it spectacularly-”The Boss” sounds less cluttered than many disco records from the same period.

Often considered to be a female declaration of independence, “The Boss”’s lyrics actually reveal the opposite. Diana has fallen in love and is realizing how little power she has over her feelings. As another famous dance diva notoriously commented in a 1982 hit, love is in control.

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