Saturday, April 9, 2011

500: Eurythmics - Touch

I've been having trouble thinking of new albums to review... The problem is, I've been indiscriminately listening to any and all albums that sound like they'd be even remotely appealing (thanks MOG), and unless something really grabs me, it's hard to make a case for a review... And if I only review albums that grab me, all of my reviews would be three or four stars... And let's face it, that'd be boring.

So, I thought of a new feature.  I recently read through Rolling Stone's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and decided it would be cool to go through them, one by one, and listen to them.  Starting at #500.  And I would post my thoughts about each one here.

Of course, this will probably take years to do, and I'll likely give up at about #485.  But we'll see.

I figure I'll skip greatest hits albums and compilations, because, in my opinion, these shouldn't be considered.  We'll see about live albums when I get to one.  And it's also possible I skip a few I really, really do not want to listen to.

And here's #500... Eurythmics - Touch

Release Date: November 26, 1983 
Label: RCA Records

I wrote up that intro during the first track... Which was tolerable.  I typically don't like 80s music, so the fact that this is not driving me insane is promising.  The second track, "Regrets", is...also tolerable?  A little funky, which is nice.

We all know Eurythmics by their smash hit from their previous album, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" (which was famously (or maybe infamously) covered over a decade later by Marilyn Manson).  Eurythmics is a British duo consisting of Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart.  They recorded consistently throughout the 80s, before going into hiatus in the 90s.  They reunited to record one more album in the late 90s, and since have been limited to sporadic appearances.

 As I type this, I'm listening to the first track on this album I don't really care for: "Cool Blue." The funky bass is pretty cool, but the song is upbeat, with a strong dance beat.  I hate dance music.  That, and it has trite lyrics, like the repeated "How can I forget you baby? I'm never gonna give you up."  Ugh.  I hate the 80s.

"Who's That Girl?," the first single from the album (followed by the first and third tracks, "Here Comes The Rain Again" and "Right By Your Side"), is the first real slow song.  Once again, I hate the lyrics, but I kind of like this song.  It's got a nice foot-tapping groove, and it has a tone that really works.  Easily my favorite thus far.

Over half way through this album, and my first impression is that overall, I am pleasantly surprised.  I don't like synth, but it works here.  Part of that is probably because of a healthy dose of funky bass work, which is probably my favorite characteristic of this album.  Lennox's vocals also fit like a glove.  The lyrics are a weak point for me; I don't get the impression that Stewart and Lennox had anything to say.  They were making music for the sake of making music (which is not a bad thing in itself, but if none of the lyrics are making a point, it detracts somewhat from the human aspect of the music).  Unless I'm just missing the underlying message in repeating the lyrics "Don't touch me; don't talk to me about it" over and over.

The last couple tracks I've listened to, "Touch" and "No Fear, No Hate, No Pain (No Broken Hearts)," have been slower and funkier.  The former was a little boring and repetitive; I'm kind of digging the latter.  This is the most dynamic so far, and the added strings (apparently by the British Philharmonic, according to Wikipedia) are really working for me.

"Paint A Rumour" opens up with some really in-your-face synth.  I think the first minute or two was completely devoid of any organic instruments, but after that, the bass guitar and trumpets join the fray.

1Here Comes the Rain Again4:54
3Right By Your Side4:05
4Cool Blue4:48
5Who's That Girl?4:46
6The First Cut4:44
8No Fear, No Hate, No Pain (No Broken Hearts)5:24
9Paint a Rumour7:30

The 2005 remastered version contains several more tracks, but I won't address those, as they weren't part of the original album.

Overall, I found this album enjoyable, despite its heavily synthesized 80s sound and boring lyrics.  There are a few tracks I'd add to my library, but I don't think I'd often have the patience to listen to this album straight through.

Here's a video, straight from the 80s:


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