on 28 September 2002
For Bananarama's first studio album not to be released in the UK, they teamed up with the then more or less unknown producers who went on to become known as "Metro", becoming famous for producing Cher's Believe and now working with Enrique.
I love this album! For all it's absolutely c**p lyrics (a year one kid could do better! - I like to think it's deliberate) there are some classic pop moments here. "Every Shade of Blue" has a great mood that was later echoed by UK pop group Steps with their curiously similar track "Deeper Shade of Blue".
Other great euro-pop examples here are "Rhythm of Life", the cheesey but infuriatingly catchy "Take Me Away", "You've Really Got Something" with a sound harking back to the Banana's S/A/W hey dey, and my personal fave "Time Out" with it's synthesised "accoustic" guitar sounds.
The backing tracks are relentlessly danceable, and typical of the prevalent sound in the mid-nineties - with more than an occasional nod in the direction of Corona (of Baby Baby and Rhythm of the Night fame).
The important thing is that I still get a rush when I listen to this - catchy choruses, danceable beats - I'm intantly in the mood to party!
There's nothing deep and meaningful here but this is nevertheless a great pop album!
on 28 July 2001
This is such a departure for Sara and Keren. Their vocals are strong and accurate, and there are even some solo spots. The overall feel of the album is pure electropop, and is a far cry from their earliest, almost raw efforts. All songs have been co-written by the girls, and their achievements are to be applauded. Loudly! From "Every Shade Of Blue" which highlights the girls' breathy, sultry vocals, the album emits class previously only hinted at by Bananarama. If you are a diehard 'Nana fan, this must be a real thrill. For the uninitiated who perceive Bananarama to be a bit gimpy and plastic, try this and think again! The only real downside to it all is the packaging, which is sparse to say the least, but I guess you can't have everything. With such a fine album as this, featuring real gems such as "Take Me To Your Heart" and "Don't Stop Me Now", it's difficult to understand why Bananarama haven't remained so popular in the UK, but I guess it's our loss!
on 10 February 2002
Bananarama have always been a group that sang strong melodic pop melodies. This album takes them into a more euro-pop/dance sound than their previous stuff. There's some great tunes, but the production doesn't seem to have the same sparkle as their earlier stuff. Standout tracks are 'Every Shade of Blue' and 'Take me to your Heart'. Both are memorable and will have you singing along in no time. It's good pop, but I have heard better from the girls.
on 26 April 2009
The girls 2nd album as a duo, and their first since leaving London Records, this album was never actually released here in the girls home country, and as such the British public can be forgiven for thinking the rams had died out after 1993...
The album opens with a typically mid-90s sounding dance beat, that leads into the opening track "Every Shade of Blue". It's a definitely toe-tapping catchy dance track, and although not a million miles away from the camp disco of 'Please Yourself', it is a very serious sounding dance number compared to the tongue-in-cheek fun that dominated that disc. "Rhythm of Life" follows, in very much the same vein as the first track, and up next is "Take Me to Your Heart". This is a nice little number that adds some variety to the album, and the lyrics are quite touching (bafflingly this was given a dance remix for a single release, but the album version is far superior). "Prove Your Love" slides back into the 90s-euro-pop-dance-whatever-you-want to brand it as, but is actually better than the first 2 tracks, and had this been a single it could have been quite a floor filler! "Take Me Away" is an infuriating number, as the intro, which is also used as a refrain throughout the song, is a very traditional Bananarama-style vocal piece of "do-da-do-da-do-da-doos", however its tacked on to a track that sounds basically like a poorer, slightly dancier version of "Take Me to Your Heart". Its infuriating as this refrain really feels like it should break into a really good pop song... but it doesn't. Next, rip your top off and get out the e's for the serious, pounding, and absolutely horrible "System", where the girls, who are pretty lost in the mix, talk/shout/sing-out-of-tune about a man that's "In my system! In my blood! In my veins!". "Maybe the Next Time" is supposedly a sexy number, where the dance beats are toned down in exchange for something a bit more soulful. The problem is, its clearly supposed to sound sexy and seductive, but.... It doesn't. The girls can do sexy, as proved many times earlier in their career - "Shy Boy", "More Than Physical", "I Can't Help It" - to name a few, but this is just embarrassing. "You've Really Got Something" ramps the tempo back up, and whilst being one of the higher-power-dance tracks again it's... fun! For the first time this album there's a song that sounds like the girls are having fun, and after all the po-faced straight-talking dance so far, its an absolute revelation - easily the best track on the album. Unfortunately, this joyous interlude is far too brief, and we're then back into System-territory with "Time Out" and "Don't Stop Me Now", which is disappointingly not a Queen cover! "Give in to Me" is a combination of System and Maybe the Next Time - a very bad pounding dance song that is embarrassingly not sexy no matter how hard the girls try. Thankfully, the next song is the last on the album. "I Found Love" is another forgettable dance number, though not as bad as some of the other tracks on the album, the vocals are terrible.
In conclusion, this album is utterly dire. There are three songs that I quite like - "Take Me to Your Heart", "Prove Your Love", and "You've Really Got Something", but even then I only really like them when compared to the other tracks on the album, and even the poorest tracks on 'Pop Life' and 'Please Yourself' are more enjoyable. Joyless was an accusation I levied at some tracks on 'Pop Life', but this album truly is - bar from one solitary track - absolutely depressingly joyless.