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    That’s sad. June Pointer has just died of cancer.

    The Pointer Sisters were utterly charming in a way that’s nearly impossible to conceive of now. Just about everything they released had some element of randiness in it, but it was good-natured, sweet-tempered randiness. They delivered the line “Jump for my love” as “Make the effort–I’m worth it,” not as “You’re my slave–now act like it.” Try to imagine that from, say, Destiny’s Child. Pop divas nowadays, especially on the R&B end of the spectrum, have a way of careening between unassailably hard and drippily vulnerable. (And yes, I’m aware that, much as I continue to admire her, Madonna had a lot to do with ushering in that state of affairs–at least the former part.) The Pointer Sisters challenged their men without being cynical or…what’s a good word?…flinty, maybe. They teased, but they never taunted.

    And the outfits! Good grief. Unfortunately, there’s a certain kind of gay man with unresolved woman issues who likes to laugh at women who try to do glam and don’t get it right. Whether the Pointers were wise to that in any explicit way, I don’t know; but they were able to amuse you with their looks without making you want to laugh at them. They were three all-American girls having a good time playing dress-up with as many shiny things as they could throw on at a time. There was no pretension to puncture. Who could resist their sense of fun?

    Especially when the singles it accompanied were so great. (This, dear children, was back when a pleasing melody was considered as important as a catchy rhythm track.) The Pointer Sisters had gusto, they seemed to be enjoying themselves, and they were in on the diva joke without overworking the irony. They were never going to be the most technically accomplished, the most android-beautiful, the best-selling pop stars. But one of the great things about America is that you’re not condemned to the same life as the hometown folks if you’re not born with the best connections or the best talent or the best bone structure. You’re allowed to pack up your very good-ness and see how far it will take you when spiked with aspiration. The Pointer Sisters used their resources to give a lot of people a lot of joy. It’s good to know that June had two of her sisters with her when she died. RIP.

    2 Responses to “Contact”

    1. They were campy in a fun way, &didn’t seem to take themselves too seriously. My favorite song is the uncharacteristically country-flavored “Fairy Tale”

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      I’ve never been able to warm to “Fairy Tale,” quite. It just seems to much like country-by-numbers, maybe? Not sure what it is. As you say, it can’t be the camp element, because they had that in everything.

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