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Here's To Future Days
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 23 August 2010
The third album in the Thompson Twins "big trilogy" is often dismissed as the least interesting of their hit albums. In most respects, this is true, but that's not to say this is a bad album by any means. Here's To Future Days was released in 1985, as the band's popularity was waning, but considering how over-exposed the band were during their peak in 1984, this was bound to happen. There is no easy solution for such a problem - release new material too early and the public will be sick of you, release it too late and they will have forgotten you. This album arrived 18 months after their previous one, which seems like a reasonable gap, though the timing was probably decided less by choice and more by unfortunate circumstances.

The material on this album continues the dance-pop style from the Twins' previous two albums, though some of it isn't quite as stylised and often sounds a little more like generic mid-80s pop/rock (the single "King For A Day" is evidence of this, though it's not a bad tune). The album version of their late 1984 hit, "Lay Your Hands On Me", was given a gospel-style makeover by the Twins' new producer, Nile Rodgers, but the newer version is vastly inferior to the Alex Sadkin-produced original. Sadkin's version had much more charm with its flowing, uplifting chorus and elegant production, whereas Rodgers' version is just far too clipped and jagged-sounding with annoying rock guitars thrown in, almost murdering the song. The second single, "Don't Mess With Doctor Dream", has its guitars and synths working well together. With its sampled "groovy gorilla" intro and Chic-style guitar work during the verses, it is an infectious dance-pop track that rises above its blunt "Just Say No" anti-drug message (a message lost on Joe Leeway, if reports from the time were accurate). The fourth single from this album, an ill-advised cover of The Beatles' "Revolution", is the worst thing on the album and God only knows what possessed the Twins to record it (one can only assume it was a product of Tom Bailey's much publicised nervous breakdown at the time). The fact it ended their three-year run of UK Top 40 hits says it all, and there were other tracks on the album that would have made far better singles.

The title track, "Future Days", is one of them, and has a strong choir-powered chorus (the same choir featured on the gospel version of "Lay Your Hands...", but here their vocals are used to spectacular effect). A couple of the tracks on the album have a Far East flavour to them, no doubt designed to appeal to the band's growing fanbase in the lucrative Japanese market. One of these, "Breakaway", has a good solid chorus and would also have made a worthy single. The other, "Tokyo", is more blatant though, and seems to be striving to ingratiate the band to a wider Japanese audience rather than aiming for any kind of artistic integrity. It isn't brilliant, but it isn't bad either. "The Emperor's Clothes" is a moody ballad more reminscent of the synthetic style of the band's two previous albums (partly evoking the atmosphere of "Kamikaze" from 1983's Quick Step & Side Kick album, but not quite as memorable), whereas "Love Is The Law" is simple, catchy pure pop fun. "You Killed The Clown" is perhaps the weakest track on the album (not counting the cover of "Revolution"), and might have been better with some reworking to make it smoother and more ethereal. As it stands, it's just another slightly clumsy synth-pop ballad and of little interest.

As with the previous two Thompson Twins reissues from Edsel Records, the extras on this set are impressive, with a total of 29 tracks spread over two discs. Though there are no less than six different versions of "Lay Your Hands On Me", it would have been nice to have included the original UK 7" single mix which is by far the best version. The same goes for "Don't Mess With Doctor Dream", of which there are also several versions included here, except the original 7" single mix. The lost 1985 single "Roll Over" is also included here (three versions of it, in fact), but it isn't a particularly brilliant song and it's probably a blessing that it was withdrawn as a single at the last minute. Still, it's nice to actually have it.

Whilst the photos of various single covers and merchandise in the fold-out booklet add a welcome touch of nostalgia, the liner notes have once again been lazily culled from Wikipedia and are sloppy and inaccurate (any kind of journalist or industry professional who uses Wikipedia as a source should be shot). Though Bailey, Currie and Leeway have made it clear that the Thompson Twins are behind them now, some input from them would not have gone amiss here. After all, its not every band who gets the deluxe 2-disc treatment for albums that are a quarter of a century old (and long overdue it was too). Despite not reaching the heights of Quick Step or Into The Gap, Here's To Future Days is a fairly good album overall. Unfortunately, it heralded the end of the Thompson Twins as a trio and also as a commercially viable pop act. For three years and three albums, they burned brightly, but then the light went out (some might say "burned out", judging by the cost to Bailey's health). Not that they were necessarily washed-up by that point, as the duo of Bailey and Currie would go on to create the brilliant single "Come Inside" in the early 90s which stands tall with the best of their 80s material. Perhaps they just needed to stop and change direction a bit earlier. 7 out of 10.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2004
Having honed their songwriting skills to perfection, through Quick Step and Into The Gap, the Twins consolidated their reputation through this album. Bailey's vocals, as ever, soar; the production is crystal clear; and the sound is the crisp and melodic one that was common to all the 4 albums from Into The Gap to Big Trash. Unlike the other albums of this quartet, however, Here's To Future Days does dip slightly on 1 or 2 tracks - such as the weak title track and the superfluous Beatles cover. That said, there are some outstanding moments, like "Dr Dream", and "Breakaway" (possibly their best ever moment, and worth the cover price alone).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2012
There are few albums from the polished period of the eighties that still shine so strongly in the 21st century, but this is one of them. Although it failed to dominate the single charts with the kind of impact of its predecessor, Into the gap, it still holds together extremely well. Probably it's downfall is the wonderfully integrated sound and superb production that make listening to this album such an sophisticated experience, yet don't quite shout out in the way that is necessary to get a big hit. Not that the opening track, Don't mess with Doctor Dream, didn't attempt to do just that. Personally I prefer the more understated King for a day and Lay our hands on me, a little bit short of anthemic and yet strong enough meodically to stick in the memory.

Probably the tracks that make this album stand out more are more sophisticated and atmospheric ballads like Emperors clothes and You killed the clown. They hold the album together so well and yet there aren't really any weak tracks at all. Truly late night listening when you want to slow down and block out the fizzy nastiness of 21st century pop.

Bored now. Turn down that resonant filter PLEASE!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2012
I played the original CD (not this fancy 2-CD extended version) a lot when I picked it up decades ago and I also went back and got their 2 earlier studio albums on CD to compare. I actually thought this was easily the best of three, mainly because of the lack of fillers very obviously present in the earlier efforts.

I even thought the "Revolution" cover was perfectly fine, but I must admit I heard this version before the Beatles original (and I still think TT did a decent job of it in their style, unlike all the other reviewers here it seems!).

Revisiting the CD more recently, I did feel that the material overall - whilst generally good - wasn't quite the "masterpiece" I thought it was in my youth, but I still maintain there isn't one bad track on there, "Revolution" included. And it definitely still remains their best album to date, IMHO of course.
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on 9 April 2010
Although the title of this review is very subjective, I was very pleasantly surprised how strong a lot of this album sounds on this remaster/reissue. The mastering will no doubt help, but when this originally came out I was pretty unimpressed, so this is the last of the Edsel 2-CDsets I have forked out for.

OK, the songs are a mixed bag, and the album mix of "Revolution" is probably best ignored, but "Lay Your Hands" is a classic TT track. A lot of the album is enjoyable too, as long as you don't compare it to its 2 predecessors too much.

The bonus tracks make this a perfect set, pretty much. We have the 12" Remix version of "Revolution", which is much more interesting/playful than the standard versions, "Roll Over" in both guises, which is a very dark track lyrically (but very good), plus every mix imagineable of "Lay Your Hands" (including the 2 instrumentals), the catchy "King For A Day" (3 versions on disc 2), and the original 5 track EP versions (which includes the remix 12" of "Don't Mess", albeit under the title of "Shoot Out").

Sound quality throughout is very crisp, athough some may want to reduce the treble and increase the bass a little, as with the other Edsel sets. Volumes are consistent and everything sounds like its from master tapes, backing up the statement of this fact in the fold-out inlay.

The inlay has a nice montage of relevant single sleeves/labels, but text is very similar to earlier sets, ie it focuses on their whole history and only a smallish new section relating to this album, and the health issues that delayed it so much first time around.

This reissue is highly enjoyable, and made me view this album in a new light, some 25 years on! Thanks Edsel (and Tom, Alannah and Joe).
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 17 August 2008
Next to the breakthrough dance-pop of 1983's Quickstep & Sidekick, and the imperious perfect pop of Into The Gap a year later, this record felt uneven and decidedly leaden upon release in 1985. Now, as part of Edsel's generally superb deluxe editions of the mid-period TT catalogue, comes a chance to re-evaluate the album which saw the band's commercial fortunes take a sharp dip in the UK.

Some things haven't changed; the remixed/re-recorded versions of the Top 20 singles Lay Your Hands On Me and Don't Mess With Doctor Dream are still inferior to their 7" counterparts, and the segue between the latter and former sounds no less clumsy than it ever did. Tokyo, meanwhile, always felt like a poor Quickstep-era B-side and betrayed a muddled creative vision for the album as a whole, as they attempted to mix the funkier elements of their earlier sound with the classic pop song structures of Into The Gap without ever really coming up with enough strong material to make any of it convincing.

However, for all its faults there is a surprisingly durable album lurking within the 11 tracks on Disc 1 of this newly expanded edition. The infamous single-that-never-was, Roll Over, appears on the UK release for the first time, albeit not in the same place that original US copies inserted it, and although it's questionable how well it would have fared on the UK charts of Spring 1985, the track is superior to a lot of the main album and is more than simply a curiosity piece.

What transpires, listening to this CD now, is how the track sequencing is probably most at fault for the way HTFD leaves an anticlimactic feeling with the listener; each "side" of the album ends with a pair or unremarkable tracks, while a gem such as Emperor's Clothes is effectively buried in the middle of the second half. Consider the prospect, for instance, of a 10-track album with the single versions of the hits, Roll Over in place of Tokyo, and a slightly rejigged running order. Not so bad after all, maybe?

The rest of this beautifully-presented package is every bit as good as those for Quickstep and Into The Gap, if not better....those two had a large degree of shared information in the fold-out booklet, whereas this time a different phase of their career is tactfully covered and the images of merchandise and various paraphenalia is second to none. With all the bonus material from the original double LP/long play cassette included, it's an irresistible package of one of the 80s most frustrating, disappointing but perhaps misunderstood releases.
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on 14 August 2008
The Thompson Twins were going from strength to strength with first 'Side Kicks', 'Into the Gap' and then 'Here's to Future Days'. The Gap was a huge album and no matter what the group where to come up with it was never going to be easy. Lay Your Hands On Me was the first single to be released and was fanatstic, although not a huge hit, followed by, I think, Don't Mess With Doctor Dream and King For One Day, both should have been huge hits.
It's great to see all the re-releases have been relatively 'untouched' and released as they were originally by Arista, including the extended remixes which could only be found on the cassette format at the time.
What I would really like to see are the first two albums released on CD when the Thompson Twins were a seven piece band then I can put my cassette collection to sleep.
Well done Esdl on these three releases, giving the fans, new and old alike, a chance to relive one the best british bands of the '80's!
Here's To Future Days!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2004
Following Quick Step and Into The Gap was never going to be easy, but the Twins just about pulled it off. Bailey's vocals soar gracefully, the production is spot-on, and the album purrs along where Into The Gap left off. It's a (surprising) shame that 1 or 2 songs dip below the usually excellent melody level (eg the title track), and the Beatles cover is superfluous. But "Dr Dream" is a storming track, and "Breakaway" possibly the best they ever wrote. The overall sound is comfortingly similar to Into The Gap, the criminally under-rated Close To The Bone, and Big Trash. If you get the chance - buy it!
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on 6 January 2010
If you're a Thompson Twins fan, then you'd agree that HTFD is an essential TT album let alone an essential 80s collection. Edsel has done a wonderful job in remastering and gathering all the singles along with various remixes,b-sides etc.
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on 2 August 2010
heres to future days by the thompson twins a classic album put togeather for tranquiaty and nice to listern to and plenty fond memeries for those who like to listern to these classic chart toppers from the 80,s very well reccomennded
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