Tuesday, May 4, 2004

Mo' music - Howard Jones, Thompson Twins, Dream Academy, EBTG, Expose

You bet, it's been a busy week, so much so that labor day turned into laboring day, ehehehe. Anyway, on with the music!

The onslaught of new wave brought exciting artists from the U.K. who didn't exactly fit the mold. One such example is Howard Jones, who was touted as the synth-master but crafted pop gems such as "Life in One Day," "Things Can Only Get Better," "What is Love," "You Know I Love You," and my all-time HoJo favorite, the pensive "No One is to Blame." The last mentioned is so poetic, so loaded with emotion, I remember each and every word, line and note. Just read the lyrics "Doctor says you're cured but you can still feel the pain" or "You're the fastest runner but you're not allowed to win" or "And you want her, and she wants you, we want everyone."

Another absolute favorite is the Thompson Twins. This group was not your conventional new wavers but i think they crafted some lyrically and musically-great, thought-provoking ballads. there's the brooding "Hold Me Now," the ethereal "Lay Your Hands on Me," the bouncy "Get That Love."

The Dream Academy,
I think, just came up with an album. But what a great album it was. from the ambient "Life in a Northern Town," to the escapist "Love Parade," the whole album was inspired and has that ethereal (there I go again), sensual, quality.

A lingering favorite is EBTG. Tracey Thorn is, to me, the quintessential singer, she with the languid but expressive alto. From their early albums, there's the sexy "Each and Everyone," "When All's Well," to the 90s hit, "Missing." Her guesting in the Style Council's "Paris Match" is ultimately sensual, provocative. "Missing" is deeply-profound, not losing its essence even when the song got remixed for U.S. release in the 90s, becoming one of the longest-charting singles the year it got released, with good reason. "Stepped up to the train, walking down your streets again, past your door, but you don't live there anymore, it's years since you've been there," or "and
I miss you, like the desserts miss the rain," or "you're long gone, but I can't move on," such deep-felt lyrics seldom make their way to songs with hip grooves. But my ultimate favorite is their folksy album, "Idlewild," which besides containing their smothering cover of Rod Stewart's "I Don't Wanna Talk About It," is a chock-full of profoundly-written gems from "Apron Strings," "Longing for a Place I Know," "Tears All Over Town," to "The Night I Heard Caruso Sing." Their acoustic album is one of the first in the genre, containing their quietening version of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," great music especially for a quiet Sunday afternoon. Still another great album is their first major foray to the U.S. with the great single "Driving."

Last on the agenda today is ironically, not a U.K. act, but an American Latin-flavored group, Expose. The group may be dismissed as just a dance-music act with dance hits such as "Come Go with Me," "Point of No Return," but I really dig their power ballads, like the breakthrough "Seasons Change," "Your Baby Never Looked Good in Blue," and "I'll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me."


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