It took me a while, but I’ve been a bit more FOCUSED now I’ve been faced with a more poptastic effort than the last album. Maybe I bigged it up too much though, as it doesn’t QUITE hit the heights of Arrival. But I won’t hold that against it, there are plenty of great moments (and a few duds).
(Originally posted June 2010)
09 As good as new – LOVE that string intro, because a DISCO OVERLOAD. Holding her hands up to a stupid relationship balls-up, I love the verses, the Mu-mu-mu-mu-mu-mu segue into a gorgeous tight chorus. The tempo never lets up, it’s just a fantastic start to the album. Obviously you know how I feel about strings too (hint: love them).
10 Voulez-Vous – Not sure why, despite this being another famous track, it’s been a relative unknown for me aside from a weak-assed reheating on ITV’s Abbamania by Boy George. But the tempo is still at a manic pace, and gives a great energy to the track. I can’t really fault it, the verses might be a little sparse but the bridge is lush, then the VOU-LEZ-VOOOOUSSS hits like the fucking power of Grayskull x 1000. I don’t quite get what they are asking though, voulez-vous WHAT?
06 I have a dream – And as much as I hate to bring up Abbamania again, it’s probably the most appropriate time now, as it was the route by which I became very familiar with this, thanks to that Westlife cover. If that wasn’t enough, I’m really struggling to feel anything for this original version, just a bit of a weak old MOR effort, not one of their classics at all. Wanky sitars and a sickly choir of kids, NO THANKS. (I never thought I’d use the phrase “wanky sitars”)
07 Angeleyes – Hmm not sure where I fall on this one. Peppy, certainly, but it does feel a little unimaginative and fillery. I mean a standard ABBA song is a cut above the usual, but this doesn’t quite get me going. The chorus is catchy but this is far from a standout.
07 The King has lost his crown – Interesting title at least, though I find the song a bit smug and sneery. They manage to get away with a bridge of “disaster and DISGRACE!” though, so KUDOS. It’s a bit ploddy but it’s alright, yet after 3:30 I’m just counting the time away. Hmm … this isn’t sounding like I like this album much is it? Well, let’s just have patience.
09 Does your mother know? – Time for the boys to have a go on lead VOX. Usually this is the rather grim rock’n’roll segment of the album, but for once this is actually a highlight. OK sure it’s a bit paedo, but open to interpretation. Despite this, it’s got a nice structure to it, and the “take it easy” bridge is lovely. The chorus, despite its pervy overtones, is TOE-TAPPINGLY GOOD. Well done boys.
08 If it wasn’t for the nights – Naff 70s disco mid-tempo, a bit like Dancing Queen but with only about 40% of the fabulosity. Still, it’s quite difficult to resist its cheesy charm for long, and it’s a very sweet and of-its-time delight to prop up an album that was starting to sag like an old souffle. *shrill vox*
10 Chiquitita – You know, I’ve had a big turnaround on this song, I used to think of it as a claggy bit of cheese, but I can’t see why anymore. It starts off delicately with that beautiful piano accompaniment, builds slowly for the second verse with some acoustic guitar mixed in, some percussion. But then there’s that amazing chorus, that never fails to make me want to sway from side-to-side like some stupid twat. “Chiquitita, you and I cryyyyy, but the sun is still in the sky and SHINING ABOVE YOU” *dies*. Love that chorus so much, the whole thing is really tender and gorgeous.
07 Lovers (live a little longer) – Back to the naff 70s intro, I never quite got on with this song, and no amount of funky arrangement is going to change that I think. Maybe the chorus can save it? NO, I find it really shrieky and not catchy at all. In fact the arrangement is probably the best and most memorable but for me, and I’m not even that fussed about it.
09 Kisses of fire – NOW this is more like it. A bit odd for a closing track but that chorus has been in my head all week. KISSES of fire, BURNIN BURNIN. LOVE IT. The manic verses after it all gets going are just fabulous. Bridges need work but I’m very forgiving when we get to the chorus *dies*
OK I guess the bottom line is that when this album is good, it’s great, but when it’s not it’s a fucking drag. I’m sure there probably are several fans of Angeleyes or Lovers but I just can’t get on board with them. Either way, half of this album is fantastic, and that’s no mean feat. Probably will end up halfway up my album rank as it stands at the moment, so I’m pleased.
Keepers for the iPod: As good as new, Voulez-Vous, Does your mother know?, Chiquitita, Kisses of fire.