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Old 09-05-2011, 08:24 AM   #208 (permalink)
Trollheart
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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Close --- Kim Wilde --- 1988 (MCA)


I was never a huge fan of Kim Wilde, and only bought one other of her albums (apart from the greatest hits compilation), and that was 1986's “Another step”. I was relatively disappointed with it, but on hearing the single “You came” I decided to try again, and I was glad I did. This is widely acknowledged as one of Kim Wilde's best albums, and it's easy to see why.

It opens with the disappointingly disco “Hey Mister Heartache”, which just does nothing for me at all with its funky bass and its bland synth lines, drum machines and frankly forgettable melody. That this was chosen as the first single from the album is staggering, and it's probably as well that I never heard it, or I would have passed on the album. All comes right though with the next track, the aforementioned “You came”, the second single and the one I heard that convinced me to take a chance on the album.

Yes, it's a disco/dance song, but the lush keyboards on it and the clapalong beat mark it as a much different song to the previous. You could hear Kylie singing this. What do you mean, that's not a good thing? Whereas the melody on the opener was confused and failed to stick in the brain, this has an unforgettable hook and a great beat. The whole album is based fairly closely on keyboards with some guitar, and although I see no bass player credited there must be one --- unless they're doing bass on the synth? Anyway, it's a well-rounded song, a real hit and got into the top ten, marking the return of Wilde for the first time since the days of “Kids in America”, “View from a bridge” and “Cambodia”, all about five years previous.

Still, good as “You came” is, if you want lush, listen to “Four letter word”, with its grandiose keys and its seventies disco melody. A semi-ballad, it's sung with passion and belief by Kim, with a lovely melody and great backing vocals. Her brother, Ricky, helps her out a lot on this album, playing keyboards, guitar, and programming the drum machines, while her famous father, Marty, has a hand in most of the songwriting.

“Love in the natural way” is a soul/disco song that could have been written for Luther Van Dross or James Ingram, a nice cheerful song, but it doesn't measure up to the quality of what has gone before. “Love's a no”, on the other hand, is a bittersweet ballad, perfectly crafted and played. A plea for patience and understanding, it gets very intense as the song progresses, then a dirty guitar introduces one of my favourite tracks on the album, the boppy “Never trust a stranger”, with great keyboard lines and a great break in the middle, with a great bassline (whoever's playing it!) and a powerful ending. Probably the closest to a rock track on the album.

Another ballad then, the superlative “You'll be the one who'll lose”, with atmospheric keys and nicely picked guitar, and a drum machine beat that sounds like fingers clicking. Cool. “European soul” is basically Madonna's “La isla bonita”, then “Stone” is back to disco/pop but with an element of rock in there too, good beat with nice synthesiser-created brass. The album ends on a cover, a song by Todd Rundgren called “Lucky guy”. It's a pretty simple piano ballad, with some nice string arrangements (presumably on synth) and a really nice piece of slide guitar to close the album on a satisfying note.

Yeah, Kim Wilde won't be everyone's cup of tea (though you would, wouldn't you?) but this is an album worth taking a chance on. It's a lot better than I expected it to be, and while it didn't blow me away I was very impressed with it. Some really well-crafted songs and some melodies you may just still be humming as you put the disc away.

TRACKLISTING

1. Hey Mister Heartache
2. You came
3. Four letter word
4. Love in the natural way
5. Love's a no
6. Never trust a stranger
7. You'll be the one who'll lose
8. European soul
9. Stone
10. Lucky guy
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