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F. Santos "Chabacano" (Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro Brazil)

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Tomorrow's World
Tomorrow's World
Price: £12.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Tomorrow, 4 Oct 2011
This review is from: Tomorrow's World (Audio CD)
This review is from: Tomorrow's World (Audio CD)
It's always worrying when someone tells you that a classic band that you truly enjoy decided to update their own sound. You may think "Oh my! They took off the word 'integrity' of their dictionary!". But this really isn't the case of this new work by Clarke and Bell, 'cos their music continues as catchy and enjoyable as it ever was, despite the more "modern" sound. No one can blame them for trying to conquer new listeners by working with a trendy producer, specially when you notice that Vince still knows to create great melodies and to thrill and amaze with his inventive synth sounds while Andy's skills as a vocalist and lyricist remain intact.

Some people have accused Andy of being repetitive with his lyrics, which really talk about love 90 percent of the time, but the fact is that 90 percent of the great pop songs of all time are about love. 'Love' has always been the great theme of pop songs and I personally don't get bothered by an album full of songs that talks about the joys and sorrows of being in love with someone when these ones are good ones, like the songs of this album. Well, there are at least four songs here that approach other subjects indeed.

The 2 tracks that I like the most are the thrilling and already underrated "When I Start To (Break It All Down)", the song rightly chosen to be the lead single, and "I Lose Myself", which was defined by Andy as a kind of New Order-esque song. Vince's synths are particularly great here, I think. Its lyrics are quite frank and talks about letting yourself being or not being a wild boy when your life is under constant pressure. "Be With You" has a very erasurish atmosphere and it's easily likeable. Sweet lyrics attached to galloping beats. "What Will I Say When You're Gone?" is a great ballad while "Just When I Thought It Was Ending" is not that great but lovely anyway. "Fill Us With Fire", "A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot" and "Then I Go Twisting" are more technoish ones and they show more explicitly the influence of FrankMusik's musical background in this record, but this doesn't discredit the final result of these three songs at all, on the contrary, they all sound very good to me, but maybe fans who aren't too familiar with the modern dance music scene need more time to like them. Curiously, neither of the three own romantic lyrics. "Fill Us With Fire" lyrics has a controversial line that says "And I believe that God's a waste of time", but it depends on how you're going to interpret this one in the context of the rest of the lyrics. As far as I know, Andy isn't an agnostic, but if he is, it's not of my business anyway. In "A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot" lyrics, which talks about a decadent movie star, Andy ironizes the stylish and egocentrical world of celebrities by whispering some words in French. Cool! "Then I Go Twisting" is the most unusual of these three songs, 'cos the verses are sung with slower beats and then it becomes quite bouncy in the chorus. Its lyrics talks about someone who just wants to forget their own complex modern life. "You've Got To Save Me Right Now" is the most "soul" moment of the record and it doesn't disappoint at all, despite its quite short duration. Maybe the participation of the choir could have been more effusive. Maybe.

Disney: Hall of Fame 17 - Dick Kinney & Al Hubbard: Dick Kinney & Al Hubbard
Disney: Hall of Fame 17 - Dick Kinney & Al Hubbard: Dick Kinney & Al Hubbard
by Dick Kinney
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.01

5.0 out of 5 stars If You Also Know Fethry As Dussel, This Is For You, 26 May 2011
English speakers who also speak German and who love Disney comics should buy this comic book compilation for one simple reason: Mr. Kinney and Mr. Hubbard created some of the finest moments of the 'Disney Ducks' in the comics. And this isn't an overstatement at all. So I've never understood why some Disney comic fans treat this duo as second class comic artists.

Dick Kinney wrote many great scripts for Disney comics headed for the market outside of the USA and worked with various remarkable Disney cartoonists besides Al Hubbard, mainly Tony Strobl, who he also produced many comic stories with. Before starting his partnership with Kinney, Al Hubbard became particularly popular among Disney comic readers because of his work with the Disney character 'Scamp'. He also worked as inker for the prestigious Disney comic strip artists Bob Karp and Al Taliaferro.

Here you'll find nothing less than 12 classic stories starred by Donald and his beatnik cousin Fethry, such as "The Health Nut", "Weaving and Ducking" and "It's Music?". Just these three stories make this item worth buying. But besides the peerless 'Fethry Duck', Kinney and Hubbard brilliantly developed other lesser-known (and unfairly overlooked) funny characters. The most relevant ones are the cunning cat 'Tabby', who belongs to Donald and detests Fethry ; the clumsy duo of secret agents 'Double-O Duck' and 'Mata Harrier' ; the short-tempered yokel 'Hard Haid Moe' and his loyal dog 'Houn' Dawg' ; the fat, tall and elegant 'Belle Duck', who already had an affair with nothing less than Scrooge McDuck ; and the annoying marketing man 'Hustler Duck'. And they ALL appear in this fantastic comic book! Curiously, it was included a solo story of Fethry where appears a duo of thieves called 'Doe Boys', who were also created by Kinney and Hubbard.

Pop 2!
Pop 2!
Price: £7.82

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Have Always Returned With The Wind And Don't Give A Damn About The Bad Weather, 4 May 2009
This review is from: Pop 2! (Audio CD)
I believe "Pop2!" is being issued by MUTE specially to let those fans (and maybe ex-fans) who simply stopped buying Erasure's records after the release of the first "Pop!" on 1992 know a small part of their last 6 albums through their respective singles. Ok, "I Say I Say I Say", the first one released after "Pop!", wasn't a commercial flop at all and many fans own and love this one, but I think it marked the beginning of the fall in sales of their records, specially if you take into account that one only big hit single was taken from it, which is the truly wonderful "Always", unlike "The Circus", "The Innocents", "Wild!" and "Chorus", which had each one at least 2 big hits on UK Charts. The irresistible "Run To The Sun", which was also a single taken from "I Say (x3)", probably is my fave song from "Pop2!", but it never could get the success that it certainly deserved.

Regarding "Erasure", "Cowboy", "Loveboat", "Other People's Songs", "Nightbird" and "Light At The End Of The World", none of them had a big hit. The bittersweet "Breathe" is the only song by them that reached a relative success in the 00's while their brilliant cover to "Solsbury Hill" could stay in the Top 10 for one only week.

So Erasure have quite unfairly lived in a kind of semi-ostracism after 1994, despite they still own an omnipresent, loyal and big fan base, and I never understood very well why this happened to them, since I sincerely think the second part of their career properly represented here is musically so perfect as the first one (from 1985 to 1992), as you can easily prove by listening to this compilation. After all what could be wrong with gems like "Fingers & Thumbs", "Don't Say You Love Me", "I Love Saturday", "Sunday Girl" or the fantastic cover that they made to the classic "Make Me Smile"? And what about the stunning ballads "Stay With Me", "In My Arms" and "Storm In A Teacup"? Simple praises cannot describe the beautiness of these 3 ones indeed. Even the not-so-strong singles from this age, which are in my opinion "Don't Say Your Love Is Killing Me", "Freedom" and "Here I Go Impossible Again", are pop songs above the average and certainly deserve to be appreciated, despite the fact that their respective albums surely owned better songs to be released as singles, such as "Save Me Darling" or "How Can I Say" from "Cowboy", "Catch 22" or "Alien" from Loveboat and "Sweet Surrender" or "I Bet You're Mad At Me" from Nightbird.

Three excellent songs were included in well remixed versions, "Rain", "Moon & The Sky" and "I Could Fall In Love With You". I particularly love these versions made specially for the single releases, even though I do prefer the original ones. It's noteworthy that the lyrics to "Rain" & "Moon & The Sky" were slightly modified too. In addition, the single version to "Rock Me Gently" doesn't own the whole part played by Diamanda Galas in the self-titled album and, for being quite frank, I prefer this way. Not to mention that "Stay With Me" and "Fingers & Thumbs" - the other 2 singles taken from the self-titled - appear here in edited versions too, which don't ruin them at all. Nevertheless, it must be said that the original ones are superior.

Enjoy it without guilt 'cos Erasure have never left to be the best thing that British Pop ever produced! And thank God significant fall in sales has never made them give up their career on Erasure. They have always returned with the wind to bring their magically perfect pop, just like an obstinate Mary Poppins, no matter how hostile these last fifteen years have been to them. Someone could say that Clarke & Bell are two senseless "storm chasers" because of this insistence on releasing good or even excellent albums without getting the proper repercussion, but the real senseless ones are those folks who think they have stopped recording music able to make somebody's day shine, 'cos no adversity could erase the brightness of these two stars. This new singles collection is the definitive proof of this!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 14, 2010 9:51 PM BST

Total Pop!: The First 40 Hits
Total Pop!: The First 40 Hits
Price: £8.79

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hey, Goths, This Album Is Made For You Too!!, 2 Mar 2009
I've never had pop idols, but Mr. Clarke and Mr. Bell are the only exceptions to this fact and it's quite simple to explain this. They make Pop Music as Pop Music was supposed to be: delightfully melodic + lyrically accessible without being silly. I mean their "I love you, baby" songs cannot be taken as disposable just because they own that differential called consistency. They are one of those rare pop bands that can associate simplicity with sophistication. Yeah, it's possible to make intelligent pop without writing intricate lyrics (or nonsense ones that critics love to praise)! Besides, Erasure have one of the best pop voices ever + the deservedly most celebrated synth genius.

This truly extraordinary compilation brings many of their best tunes, but they really own at least another forty songs (among non-single album tracks and even b-sides) with the same perfect pop appeal than these 38 ones (I dislike "Heavenly Action").

The first cd is "Pop! - The First 20 Hits" remastered, so it's the same party for every erasurians' ears with a plus. It's noteworthy to point out here the beautiness of the 4 single ballads, since "The Circus", "Ship Of Fools", "You Surround Me" and "Am I Right?" are all among the best singles of this 1st age on Erasure's career, but they hardly get the same recognition than their most dancey hits.

The 2nd cd, which has been properly called as Pop 2, can already be considered as the most underappreciated pop collection ever, since most part of its 19 tracks weren't exactly radio hits. "Don't Say Your Love Is Killing Me", "Freedom and "Here I Go Impossible Again" aside, the other sixteen ones are nothing less than brilliant. Well, but those other 3 ones are pretty enjoyable anyway. Thus, it's definitely not "patchy and dispensable", on the contrary, it's a second compilation that just serves to highlight Clarke & Bell's uncomparable talents as pop songwriters. Anyway, Mr. Darren Lee wrote a review kinder than usual for an Erasure's album, since most critics seem to love to hate them indeed.

In short, this is a double cd able to bring a big smile to anyone who isn't converted to the bland pop that is made nowadays. Oh, but don't take me for a grumpy uncle, since I love Mika, Lily Allen, Scissor Sisters and Gnarls Barkley. These 00's four acts are 'good nephews' to the 80's pop ones like Erasure.

And now, please, give me a big smile, goths!

P.S.: A person is considered an *erasurian* when he/she owns every albums released by Erasure.

Light At The End Of The World
Light At The End Of The World
Price: £10.02

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Synthpop Goes Golden Again, 25 May 2007
Since the first time I've listened to LATEOTW I took it as the album that I've been expecting from Erasure since they released Cowboy. I mean they finally recorded another upbeat album after 3 slower works (Loveboat, OPS & Nightbird). Ok, it has been a great experience to see Erasure recording more 'mature' and even challenging ones, but it's awesome to discover they still can sound as full of energy as when they were younger. All its 10 songs follow the basic rules from pop without any guilt as usual, but it sounds even more inspired to me in relation to their last ones. Many great (or even terrific) hooks can be heard all through its 10 songs and Andy's lyrics still talk about love most part of the time, what isn't a deffect when you own a skilful hand to write as Andy does, and they continue to be accessible/bittersweet, but they are more creative if you compare them to Nightbird's ones. You can verify this on reading the lyrics from Darlene (Andy should write more ones about fictious girls. Do you remember the also brilliant Joan?!), Sunday Girl (or "try not to lose your stable relationship because of a sassy girl that you met on a dance club") or Storm In A Teacup (a touching family drama which is partially autobiographical). Regarding Vince's synths, he continues to prove why he's a wizard in inventing and re-inventing electronic sounds to let Erasure's music always sound fresh. And his melodic sense keeps intact indeed even after 21 years of career. He has never forgotten how essential a good melody is, no matter how noisy Pop Music has become after the Eighties. Its 1st single, Could Fall In Love With You, isn't the best track of the album, but it's a thrilling one anyway, while Sunday Girl (its very well-chosen 2nd one) sounds as a sensational blend between two tracks from OPS: Make Me Smile & Everyday. Absolutely irresistible! Sucker For Love is unexpectedly vigorous & expansive, including Andy has said it's the 'Love To Hate You' moment of this record, what means you just can love it or hate it. Needless to say I love it. And how! On the other hand Glass Angel, which Andy has said is a kind of sequel to Rock Me Gently (from the self-titled album), sounds as an epic ballad and it's not by chance it was chosen to close (very well) the album. Actually, even the ballads from this work are full of strong beats, what shows how excited they were about making this one. Storm In A Teacup is probably one of their all time saddest ballads (along with The Circus, Hallowed Ground, Crown Of Thorns and Grace) while When A Lover Leaves You is wonderfully romantic and the most beautiful moment of this record in terms of melody at my point of ear. Darlene is so pleasant as a walk through a beautiful park or a nice meeting in a Cafe. Andy has said its melody was inspired by "La Isla Bonita" from Madonna, but I cannot see a big similarity between their respective ones indeed. They're definitely not so 'cousins' as Love To Hate You and I Will Survive from Gloria Gaynor. Well, Spanish rhythms are always welcome, so whatever... The sequence Fly Away (terrific chorus and vocal by Andy), Golden Heart (the synths from Vince are particularly catching here) and How My Eyes Adore You (aside from the chorus, the lines are almost spoken instead of sung here) represents the weaker part of this really incredible work, but weak is a forbidden word for describing any song of this one, even the two bonus tracks. And VIVA ERASURE!

Electric Blue
Electric Blue
Offered by MEGA Media FBA
Price: £6.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Dance Music In Big Style!!, 3 April 2007
This review is from: Electric Blue (Audio CD)
First of all: Andy is one of the best pop singers who ever existed! His voice is unique and he sings like a "soul" singer, I mean he sings with real feeling. He perfectly knows how to associate his vocal technique with pure emotion. It's not by chance he loves Motown. Second of all: Ok, he doesn't want to change the way how we see the world with his lyrics like "Morrissey" does, but he's one of the few pop lyricists who talks about love many times without sounding annoying or stupid (and this is also intelligence). Summing up: Andy is talented enough to make a brilliant record without the genious Vince Clarke and this wonderful work called Electric Blue is a proof of this fact. By the way, Manhattan Clique really aren't any "Vince Clarke", but they definitely know how to create amazing infectious beats. I've been considered the best tracks here are the two ones recorded with Claudia Brucken: Love Oneself & Delicious and the one recorded with Jake Shears: the absolutely shaking/delightful I Thought It Was You. All these duets make me consider Andy should record a covers album only with duets. Nevertheless I love equally the hit single Crazy, Jealous, Runaway, I'll Never Fall In Love Again and the half ballad/half dancing Fantasy. It's not a work for being compared with Erasure's ones indeed, specially because it doesn't own the accurate melodic sense from Vince, but I think it's undeniable Andy + Manhattan Clique could make a brilliant "disco/dance music" record!

Hits: the Very Best of (Limited Edition)
Hits: the Very Best of (Limited Edition)
Offered by J4G
Price: £17.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It really could be better..., 19 Oct 2003
Ok, Hits! should be a compilation for comprehending all eighteen years of Erasure's career at a perfect way, after all it doesn't lack good reasons to celebrate such a brilliant career on pop music! However for some strange reason EMI/MUTE have decided to synthesize everything that Vince + Andy have done along all this time into one only cd... Anyhow it's well worth buying for those people that have never heard of Erasure.

Even though Stay With Me, In My Arms, Freedom and Solsbury Hill haven't reached remarkable results on UK Charts, they all are real pop gems - exception for Freedom song, which is just good - and I think it was great that these ones were included on Hits! for giving to people a little show of what Vince + Andy made on their 4 most underrated works: Erasure, Cowboy, Loveboat and OPS. By the way, none of these albums were exactly well-succeeded (they were actually almost a complete flop in terms of charts), nevertheless they all own great songs and covers that probably will be kept secret since most people aren't interested anymore in hearing well-done pop music while the pop world is getting more and more cynical + artificial and it seems to me the near future will be even harder for artists like Erasure, who insists (and I'm really grateful to them for this insistence) on continueing to record good ones despite this pop music scene nowadays.

Well, I bought this one just because I'm a devoted fan, but I must recognize it really could be so much better, after all it's not every day that such a classic pop duo like Erasure can reach almost 20 years of career. Thus Hits! was supposed to be a double CD at least...

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