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This 1987 album saw Eurythmics return to their electronic/experimental roots after the soul/R&B excursion Be Yourself Tonight (1985) and the full-bodied pop-rock of Revenge (1986). It has been substantially enhanced with the addition of 5 bonus tracks and deluxe packaging that includes a booklet with historical notes.
Whilst Beethoven (I Love To Listen To) is experimental yet catchy and I've Got A Lover (Back In Japan) tuneful and pleasant enough, it's with the buoyant Do You Want To Break Up? that the album really gathers momentum.
The next 3 songs are true classics, each mirroring a different side of Eurythmics at their most creative. The deceptively breezy You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart is a strange mix of cynicism and hope, despair and elation.
Shame is perfect 60s nostalgia at its most evocative and hypnotically tuneful, while the eerie title track creates a beautifully bleak landscape of alienation and despair - Love Is A Stranger devoid of romanticism.
Atypical of the album, I Need You has prominent acoustic guitars and a live feel. Brand New Day starts out as a moving morning-after ballad and develops into an atmospheric uptempo number.
Amongst the bonus tracks, my favourites are the extended philharmonic version of Beethoven and the dance mix of Shame. There is also a powerful live version of I Need You, and the album concludes with the Lennon/McCartney song Come Together.
The bonus tracks and the de luxe packaging has improved an already classic album by these masters of innovative synth-pop. Savage is a must-have for Eurythmics fans and all those who love timeless pop music.
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on 23 November 2006
I don't want to waffle on too much, but this is the best Eurythmics album ever made. With the exception of "Do You Want To Break Up" this album is all Gold (The other song being just silvery). Stand out tracks for me are "Shame", "You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart", "I Need You" and "Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)" (The beginning is quite scary...if your in a scary mood like...ahem...).

Annie is suberb, especially in the acoustic part.

If you prefered the rockier, more commercial Eurythmics sound, then try 'Be Yourself Tonight' or 'Revenge'...but for me, it's the more Savage, the better.

10/10
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on 27 November 2012
Although Eurythmics began their career as dark, electronic experimentalists, by the mid 80s they had become more famous for their big breezy chart fodder, from There Must Be Angel (Playing With My Heart) to Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves. "Savage" saw an abrupt left turn back to their roots. (This is an excerpt from a full review to be found at the Pop Lifer blog - just search for "Eurythmics Savage" and "poplifer").

The 1987 single "Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)" must have come as something of a shock for U2 fans seduced by upbeat anthems like "When Tomorrow Comes" or catchy-chorused FM rock like "Thorn In My Side". Christ, "Beethoven" must have come as a shock for people who had spent their entire lives listening to Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees and early Cure records. Constructed from bruising drum loops, a shuddering synth line and stabbing strings, the verses saw Lennox adopt a cruel, teasing, cut-glass English accent and muse aloud lines like "Did I tell you I was lying by the way, when I said I wanted a new mink coat?/ I was just thinking about something sleek to wrap around my tender throat".

"Beethoven" was promoted with an extraordinary video by the unknown Sophie Muller (now famed for her work with Blur, Radiohead, Coldplay and Brandon Flowers). Not so much a pop video as outre performance art, it stars Lennox as a seething housewife trapped in a grisly American Mid-West Home. She knits with red-eyed fury and wages domestic war with a psychotic little girl and a sinister transvestite, before finally morphing into a glittering, terrifying vamp, wrapped in a shimmering gown and a Marilyn Monroe mane of bright blonde curls. The spectre of Guy Bourdin, the unsettling seventies fashion photographer, hovered over the video, and helped create one of the strangest and most emotionally disturbing concoctions ever released by a monstrously famous pop act.

The sheer weirdness at work was perhaps best encapsulated by a showing of the "Beethoven" video on a UK Saturday morning children's show of the time. When the time came for the obligatory phone in, Lennox asked young viewers to say what they thought the song was about. Given that experts on feminism, art and sexuality like Camille Paglia would have had trouble deciphering its soup of rage, theatricality, suicide and labyrynthine sexual politics, the children were understandably at a loss. "The lady seems a bit angry," one child managed - getting right to the bruised heart of the matter.

Of course, "Beethoven" could have been a red herring, an anomaly in an already peculiar career. But the subsequent release of the album "Savage" proved that it wasn't. Released 25 years ago this month, "Savage" the album was almost as peculiar and avant garde as its lead single, and every bit as enthralling. It isn't just Eurythmics' masterpiece, it's one of the greatest records ever made. "It's dark, and I like the sharpness of its blade," Lennox said of the album upon its release, in a rare case of an artist truly understanding what makes their work special.

Being bold and bleak it naturally flopped, yielding just one proper hit - the icily brilliant "You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart", featuring one of Lennox's most magnificent vocals - but it has earnt its place alongside records like Kate Bush's "The Dreaming" or Suede's "Dog Man Star" as relative commercial failures but total creative triumphs. (Note - we are far from the only people to recognise the album's dark, twisted genius - go to Ultimate Eurythmics for an extraordinary array of reviews, perspectives and art celebrating the album's 25th anniversary).

There is a darkness that swirls around "Savage", even when the music itself shines. "Shame", the album's second single, is as musically beautiful as anything the band ever created, moving gracefully from chiming bells through crystalline vocals to a swooning coda. Lyrically, however, Lennox is on furious form, denouncing all popular culture and its cheap, anaesthetising effect. She pronounces "shame - on the TV and the media", blasting even those sacred cows "The Beatles and The Rolling Stones." It sounds years ahead of its time in its sweeping contempt for cheap, debasing fame and the lifestyle that goes with it: "everybody wants it but it don't exist".

Similarly slippery is the bass-driven, feathery near-instrumental "Heaven", where Lennox's Monroe-esque coos and sighs disturb as much as reassure. Or there's the funny and ferocious "Do You Want To Break Up?", which moves from lovesick verses into a chorus of acidic, mocking chirpiness. In one masterstroke it seems to satirise all pop music and how it alchemises the emotional distress of heartbreak into cheap chart catchiness.

These moments of sonic sunniness - however insincere - are an essential counterpoint to the more obviously bleak moments. The title track moves with the slow, sighing inevitability of clinical depression, painting a picture of a jaded, embittered woman - "all cynic to the bone". Emotional abuse is the subtext to these songs, and it flowers fully in the unbelievably raw "I Need You". The stripped down acoustic backing and naked vocal only highlight the dead-eyed masochism of the lyrics: "I need you to really feel the twist of my back breaking/ I need someone to listen to the ecstacy I'm faking." Even PJ Harvey's "Rid Of Me", perhaps the most extreme and honest album on female sexual distress ever made, might have flinched from these words.

The duo themselves certainly flinched or - if you prefer - moved on. Their next album, 1989's "We Too Are One", returned Eurythmics to the rockier, poppier territory of "Savage"'s predecessors, as well as the number one album spot. Creatively, however, it found the band apparently beginning to run out of steam, although one song - the sublime "Don't Ask Me Why" - drank from the same cocktail of spite and grief that fuelled "Savage".
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on 12 January 2006
Well, this is the album where the Eurythmics lost their fairweather fans yet delivered a classic that is amongst their best.
After an album release per year, maybe it was just one album too many that led to it being viewed as a bit of a flop.
The sound though is that of a band doing exactly what they wanted, with a return to the electro/soul style of 'Sweet Dreams' after the loss of direction and wee bit over-commercial 'Revenge'.
For me the album really takes off after 'You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart' with every track thereafter a classic combining lyrical beauty with perfectly harmonised music.My personal favourite is the title track 'Savage', a bleakly beautiful song that tells it how it is (it must have been a scary place in their heads at the time).
A masterpice yes, but a flawed one. I think it was a mistake to to include tracks 2 & 3, I've Got A Lover (Back In Japan) & Do You Want To Break Up?, at least in this tracklisting as they are weak and more suitable as b-sides. Just ten quality tracks would have fitted with the nine or ten on most of their previous lps. Additionally, I think it was a mistake to use 'Beethoven' as the lead single when it was a bit confrontational compared to stronger tracks like 'I Need A Man' which no doubt would have achieved the higher chart placing that they deserved. A pity the album wasn't rejigged with this opportunity, however we get the extras which are of interest though not essential.
Anyway, buy the album and make-up your own mind.
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on 10 June 2010
The hardcore Eurythmics fans seem to have summed up the brilliance of this album rather neatly already. The album is crammed with some brilliant tunes, a dollop of crazy and a smidgen of acceptable pretentiousness. Modern acts (chiefly Goldfrapp) could stand to spend an hour or two in the company of this album when looking for inspiration.

The reissue is superb: beautiful packaging and great remastering. The author of the sleevenotes might have benefited from a little editorial restraint but I won't gripe too much.

This release would have been solid gold perfection if it were accompanied a DVD of the videos that were made for the original album. Dave and especially Annie were great fans of the dressing-up box and Sophie Muller's videos were great. Oh, and the acoustic version of "You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart" wouldn't hurt either.

But, all in all, a fantastic reissue. Two thumbs up.
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on 24 May 2000
By experimenting with different sounds and vocal techniques, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart have produced one of their most stunning records. Each track creates a cyclone of emotion that will take your breath away- from the highly-charged "You have placed a chill in my heart" to the rauchy " I need a man"- there is plenty to satisfy all in this album.
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The 1987 album Savage saw Eurythmics return to their electronic/experimental roots after the soul/R&B excursion Be Yourself Tonight (1985) and the full-bodied pop-rock of Revenge (1986). It has been substantially enhanced with the addition of 5 bonus tracks and deluxe packaging that includes a booklet with historical notes.

Whilst Beethoven (I Love To Listen To) is experimental yet catchy and I've Got A Lover (Back In Japan) tuneful and pleasant enough, it's with the buoyant Do You Want To Break Up? that the album really gathers momentum. The next 3 songs are true classics, each reflecting a different side of Eurythmics at their most creative. The deceptively breezy You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart is a strange mix of cynicism and hope, despair and elation.

Shame is perfect 60s nostalgia at its most evocative and hypnotically tuneful, while the eerie title track creates a beautifully bleak landscape of alienation and despair, like Love Is A Stranger stripped of romanticism. Atypical of the album, I Need You has prominent acoustic guitars and a live feel. Brand New Day starts out as a moving morning-after ballad and develops into an atmospheric uptempo number.

Amongst the bonus tracks, my favourites are the extended philharmonic version of Beethoven and the dance mix of Shame. There is also a powerful live version of I Need You, and the album concludes with the Lennon/McCartney song Come Together. The bonus tracks and the de luxe packaging has improved an already classic album by these masters of innovative synth-pop. Savage is a must-have for Eurythmics fans and all those who love timeless pop music.
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on 14 November 2014
In the autumn of 1987, Eurythmics released their seventh studio album. Much in contrast to their previous effort, loaded with mainstream pop-rock tunes, Annie and Dave opted for a more alternative sound this time around. New compositions had more in common with duo's earliest, experimental works than with music they had recorded in the last two years. Synthesizers has again won more prominence, what is best reflected in the track "Heaven". "Savage" is dominated by less accessible melodies, full of musical peculiarities, so typical for Eurythmics' first LPs. The album's lyrics, penned by Annie Lennox, are darker and more introverted. Many of them are characterized by feminist undertones, like the spoken "Beethoven (I Love to Listen to)", which served as the lead single. Apart from "Beethoven", highlights include the title ballad, "Shame", "You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart" - the only straightforward pop track on the album, and the rock number "I Need a Man", which surprises with Lennox's sharp, aggressive vocals. She gives an interesting performance again in "Wide Eyed Girl", however, songs like "Put the Blame on Me", "I Need You" and "Brand New Day" are just unmemorable fillers. Generally speaking, "Savage" is a fairly good album, and even though it didn't spawn a proper classic, it presents some polished quality. (3.5)
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This 1987 album saw Eurythmics return to their electronic/experimental roots after the soulful Be Yourself Tonight (1985) and the full bodied pop-rock of Revenge (1986). Whilst "Beethoven" is experimental yet catchy, "I've Got A Lover ..." tuneful and pleasant enough, it's with the buoyant "Do You Want To Break Up?" that the album really gathers momentum. The next 3 songs are true classics, each mirroring a different side of Eurythmics at their most creative. The deceptively breezy "Chill" is a strange mix of cynicism and hope, sadness and elation, "Shame" is perfect 60s nostalgia at its most deliciously tuneful, while the eerie "Savage" creates a beautifully bleak landscape of alienation and despair - Love Is A Stranger devoid of all romanticism. I find the rest of the tracks less inspired, with the exception of "Brand New Day." But with three absolute masterpieces and seven great songs in all, this album stands proud amongst Eurythmics' great oeuvre.
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on 6 October 2002
It seemed to most like the Eurythmics were taking a gamble when they made this album. After all, "Revenge" (1986) had previously sold in the millions, although it had not recieved outstanding critical ovation; "Savage" marked a return to the earlier synthesiser sound of the 'Sweet Dreams' days (hence the gamble- would it put off the Eurythmics listeners and fans?). Unfortunately the album did not sell as well as earlier releases and had no singles to make the top 20- a first for the duo since 1981. This is a huge shame, as I consider this to be one of the Eurythmics finest musical moments and a definite peak in their creativity. The opening track "Beethoven" re-introduces the abstract ideas that Eurythmics seemed to have temporarily misplaced whilst "Savage" is a wonderful tale of loss and woe, perfectly combining the multi-layered background with Annie Lennox's striking vocals. "Shame", "You Have Placed A Chill" and "Heaven" bring to life the idea of the whore-slut complex which is beautifully illustrated in the album's cover art. "I Need You" abandons synthesisers, but instead of returning to rock, decides to adopt an acoustic sound, which works brilliantly near the end of the album. The final track "Brand New Day" enables Lennox's vocals to be perfectly showcased (i.e. by an a capella verse) and provides a great end to a momentous album. The only dissapointment (I felt) with this collection was "I Need A Man" which not only refuses to use a synthesiser-based sound, but also seems to have been put together in a bit of a rush. Some more artwork inside the sleeve would have also been appreciated. Overall, "Savage" is a wonderful album, which clearly shows the Eurythmics working at a creative peak. This peak would seen peter out with the next release, but that's another story...
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