This album took the Manhattan Transfer in a different direction from their previous releases, offering a new, revised style of their music. There were several collaborations on this album, including Stevie Wonder, Rod Temperton, and Jeremy Lubbock. Also appearing as a guest artist on the album was Frankie Valli, who appears on the song "American Pop".
The final track on the album, "The Night That Monk Returned to Heaven", is a tribute to American jazz pianist Thelonious Monk.
Alan Paul co-wrote two songs on the album, "Malaise En Malaisie" and "Code of Ethics".
This album was the first Manhattan Transfer album to be included in the Rhythm & Blues charts. The song "Spice of Life", was a hit on both the R&B chart, reaching #32, and on the Pop chart, reaching #40. This song featured a distinctive harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder. The song has a similar structure to the album cut "Baby Be Mine" on Michael Jackson's Thriller album. The song was written by Rod Temperton and Derek Bramble.
The song "Mystery", also written by Rod Temperton, reached #80 on the R&B chart and #102 on the Pop chart. The song was later covered by Anita Baker on her 1986 album Rapture. "This Independence", written by Canadian composer Marc Jordan (famous for "Living In Marina Del Rey") was also released on a 12" disco single format.