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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is life after Big In Japan...
Alphaville are one of those bands who are bracketed in the "one hit wonder" category. True, they only had one hit in the UK, but they have sustained a recording career for over sixteen years from BIJ all the way through to their latest recording, the live album Stark Naked And Absolutely Live.
This album was their second and in someways is more perfect...
Published on 2 Nov. 2000 by siwooldridge@netscapeonline.co.uk

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3.0 out of 5 stars Passable 80s nostalgia
I recently rediscovered Alphaville. I bought the Forever Young album on vinyl in the 1980s and sadly it has become to worn and scratched to play anymore. So I downloaded a digital version and relived my youth. This encouraged me to try something else from Alphaville, so I then downloaded Afternoons in Utopia. Sadly this is not a patch on Forever Young. Most of the tracks...
Published 24 months ago by Bearman


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is life after Big In Japan..., 2 Nov. 2000
This review is from: AFTERNOONS IN UTOPIA (Audio CD)
Alphaville are one of those bands who are bracketed in the "one hit wonder" category. True, they only had one hit in the UK, but they have sustained a recording career for over sixteen years from BIJ all the way through to their latest recording, the live album Stark Naked And Absolutely Live.
This album was their second and in someways is more perfect than the first. Frank Mertens had now left the band and Ricky Echolette picked up his keyboard. The melodies are more laid-back and lush than their debut, which was pretty good too by the way, but there is a nice balance of uptempo synth-pop songs and slower material.
Best songs on this album for me are Red Rose, Universal Daddy and the remarkably beautiful Lassie Come Home.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Afternoon In Utopia barely cuts it-spend a year here instead!, 22 May 2010
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This review is from: Afternoons in Utopia (Audio CD)
On my review for Alphaville's debut 'Forever Young', I delegated it their best without hearing any others. Well as fab as that album was, this one soars even higher-a more sophisticated, accomplished and regal piece of work and this fab group join the small elite of artists who bettered their cool debut with an even better record-Kim Wilde, Crowded House, Duran Duran, Stevie Nicks, Cyndi Lauper, Sandra Cretu and A-ha.

Thankfully the synthesisers are in full flow on this album, and Marian's beautiful, powerful and pitch-perfect voice comes through far more strongly. The soaring and militant 'Fantastic Dream' that leads the album into a full gallop after a tiny introductory tittle of the charmingly somniferous title track. The range of album tracks here varies masterfully from the pulsing march of 'The Voyager', spare bits of spoken poetry and thoughtful balladeering like the tender 'Carol Masters' to the majestic and epic yearning tragedy of 'Lassie Come Home'-evoking memories of Abba's beautiful and disgustingly ignored 'The Day Before You Came'. Of the singles, a grand total of 5 came off here, but while the euphonious double hitters 'Jerusalem' and 'Universal Daddy' are as perfect as they should be, the weirdo mumbo-jumbo of 'Sensations' puzzles as single-wise, there's much better work on here to have that honour, though of course the song is catchy, though likely their weakest single. Of the other two, the album version of 'Dance With Me' here is echoy and rather clumsy and fades quicker than the single that appears on their hits collection 'First Harvest' so I'd play that instead and skip this one so have both CDs in together, like with the great Kim Wilde's 'Another Step' album of the same year, where the title track on the album is a rather stodgy charmless clunker that the glorious single version is completely at odds with. With the jaunty, brassy 'Red Rose', however, it's the other way round-it, again, is shorter than the single one, but is far more flexible, less pompous and clumpy than the one on 'First Harvest' and has a proper abrupt stop that sounds the song's style perfectly than the rather absurd middle-piece of last-line repetition that is brought on again to fade the 'single' version at the end. Don't see the point in the 2 versions, especially as the single one is longer-especially as 'Big In Japan' and others are edited on the hits collection.

All round this is a fantastically rich collection of swooping, swaying, marching, swooning music with a song for every mood and is a clear, superlative testament to an band fulfilling the old bandied about 'difficult 2nd album' syndrome with ease. Buy now people! I cannot believe there's only one review on here of this gem!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alphaville reach for the skies, 2 Mar. 2012
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not_a_real_folkie "not_a_real_folkie" (Farnham, Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Afternoons in Utopia (Audio CD)
Following the domestic success of their 1984 album "Forever Young" and the international success of "Big In Japan", nobody could accuse German electro-pop band Alphaville of simply rehashing the same formula for album no. 2. "Afternoons in Utopia" is a skyscraping, ambitious pop record which aims to be epic and, for the most part, succeeds magnificently.

Putting aside the New Age babble of the lyrics, this album delivers pop anthem after pop anthem. On Side 2 (produced by Pete Walsh, who produced another towering landmark 80s album, Simple Minds' "New Gold Dream") the band achieve some kind of pop heaven, with the faultless sequencing of "20th Century" going into "The Voyager", "Carol Masters" and then Erasure-ish single "Universal Daddy". Except this band were making music long before Vince Clark formed Erasure.

Just occasionally I must confess to finding the bombast and pomp a little overpowering (oddly enough on the first tracks of the album proper, after the teaser "IAO" intro: "Fantastic Dream" and "Jerusalem" are SO up, and so triumphant! They're sometimes like a vanilla latte with 5 sugars in it - a little too much of a good thing.

But I haven't even mentioned the poignant and wonderful "Lassie Come Home" - 7 minutes of perfect melancholia that neatly takes the cute doggie film title and applies it to lost (human) love, all sung over warm, shifting synth chords that instantly transport me back to the early- to mid-eighties every time I hear them.

So, don't get me wrong, this is a brilliant album and one of the classics of the eighties - just eclipsed for me by the preceding "Forever Young" and its successor, "The Breathtaking Blue".

Mastering on this original 80s CD is OK: fairly quiet (when I analysed a few tracks they peaked at -2.5dB) but nice and clear, with no 'trendy' dynamic range compression nonsense applied. Try the vinyl version for additional 'Lassie' analogue warmth!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this album in 1986 and still sounds great now, 26 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Afternoons in Utopia (Audio CD)
Loved this album in 1986 and still sounds great now. This is my fave Alphaville album of the five I own, great set of songs. I bought their first 2 albums in the uk and then the next 3 albums while on my holl's in different countries, when I used go around record shops abroad [ remember them ] to try and find new albums of my fave artists, in the days before the internet you wouldn't always know of new releases, I was always happy to find another one of their cd's. I'm not really into synthpop apart from Alphaville and Aha, but there was something about Marian gold's voice/ the great melody's/ and the atmosphere of the songs I really liked.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Passable 80s nostalgia, 30 July 2013
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Bearman (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I recently rediscovered Alphaville. I bought the Forever Young album on vinyl in the 1980s and sadly it has become to worn and scratched to play anymore. So I downloaded a digital version and relived my youth. This encouraged me to try something else from Alphaville, so I then downloaded Afternoons in Utopia. Sadly this is not a patch on Forever Young. Most of the tracks are just about OK, though a couple will make you cringe. None of them have the originality or vibrancy of the Forever Young album.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 28 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Afternoons in Utopia (Audio CD)
If the first their album had one huge hit, this one was brilliant from the start to the end. One of the best pop/new wave albums of eighties.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 28 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Afternoons in Utopia (Audio CD)
excellent
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Afternoons in Utopia by Alphaville (Audio CD - 2002)
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