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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The DIFINITIVE Bananarama Album (Produced by Youth)
Well, it had to happen sooner or later.
Bananarama, The most successfull British all girl group went back to their roots and have written and co-produced one of their best offerings to date. Pop life is a journey into pure pop magic and at the begining of the ride is the incredibly infectious Shep Pettibone remix of "Preacher Man" followed by a cover of the Doobie...
Published on 22 Jan 2004 by Gary Whalley

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2.0 out of 5 stars Oh Dear
Though I'm a big Bananarama fan, but this album is a big disappointment. They always had a knack of making quite tragic lyrics sound quite jolly. Not the case here. The album is a very dull affair and is saved only by the tracks Heartless, Ain't No Cure and Tripping On Your Love. Heartless is produced by SAW and it would have been interesting had Bananarama decided to...
Published on 29 Nov 2010 by pethead


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The DIFINITIVE Bananarama Album (Produced by Youth), 22 Jan 2004
By 
Gary Whalley (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pop Life (Audio CD)
Well, it had to happen sooner or later.
Bananarama, The most successfull British all girl group went back to their roots and have written and co-produced one of their best offerings to date. Pop life is a journey into pure pop magic and at the begining of the ride is the incredibly infectious Shep Pettibone remix of "Preacher Man" followed by a cover of the Doobie Brothers classic "long Train Running" which gets a Flamenco makeover.This track features the guitars and vocals of Alma De Noche ( The Gypsy Kings had to change their name as a result of a lawsuit from their record company. "only Your Love" follows and would have to be one of the bravest (and artisicly their best) choices for a first single. The album also features "tripping On Your Love" and "Outta Sight" which stand out as classic bananarama songs. You will,however find 2 S.A.W. produced songs on the c.d. -"ain't No Cure" and "Heartless" both are going to be loved by hardcore 'Nana fans but sadly do not have the life and energy that flows from the other tracks. Highly experimental by Bananarama standards. The girls show us their creative steam,not seen or heard of since the days of "Shy Boy" and "Cruel Summer".Trully a great pop album and a must have for lovers of the genre everywhere.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ripe for revisionist adoration!, 21 Mar 2007
Having waved goodbye to a phenomenally successful 1980s with the seemingly unstoppable commercial might of their "Greatest Hits Collection", Bananarama heard what was happening around them and decided a fresh sound was needed. With seamlessly introduced new recruit Jacquie O'Sullivan in tow, the girls drafted in the likes of Youth and Shep Pettibone to helm production on this fifth studio album.

And it's - mostly - a revelation.

Rhythmically innovative (their cover of "Long Train Running" foreshadows the Latin invasion by some 8 years!), and vocally confident throughout, this is a re-invigorated Bananarama. The likes of "I Can't Let You Go" and "What Colour R The Skies Where U Live?" would, under normal circumstances, be throwaway filler, but thanks to haunting production work (which still sounds fresh today) even these tracks become blissed-out keepers. Meanwhile opening track "Preacher Man", the album's most successful single, is as close to dancefloor euphoria as anything Bananarama ever delivered.

There are disappointments; "Outta Sight" never really worked, and although the frothily enjoyable "Heartless" sounds like the lovechild of "I Can't Help It", it does sit awkwardly at the close of the original album.

Cruelly overlooked at the time, "Pop Life" faltered after only one week in the UK album charts at a lowly #42. This reissue series affords new listeners the opportunity to put right this oversight.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you buy just one Bananarama studio album that is not from the 80's, make it this one., 12 July 2014
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This review is from: Pop Life (Bonus DVD) (Audio CD)
If you buy just one Bananarama studio album that is not from the 80's, make it this one, without doubt, Pop Life was the best Bananarama album ever up till "Viva" in 2009 and even then the musical styles & directions where worlds apart.

As the 90's started, grunge and madchester music replaced the bubble pop music by S/A/W. Bananarama moved on and experimented with more dance styles than before, so it was highly unfortunate that they were still caught up in the backlash at S/A/W (even through the hit factory only provided two tracks) and this may be why Only Your Love underperformed in 1990 (even though it isn't by S/A/W and doesn't sound like a PWL production). By 1991, a backlash had even started against anything 80's (by mid year, Radio 1 banned any music that was before the new decade). Although Preacher Man & Long Train Runnin' performed "just ok", the failure of Trippin' On You Love (vastly underappreciated) to make the top 75 was the end of Bananarama as a trio (aside from the reunions with Siobhan for "Waterloo" and a G-A-Y one off performance).

Plan's for a second World Tour were postponed as Sarah, pregnant with her first child (a baby girl named Alice), had to keep having her costumes readjusted as the pregnancy progressed. By the release of Trippin' On Your Love, Sarah was unable to promote it as her due date approached, Jacquie left the group, unhappy as still being the "new girl" with little creative input, Bananarama's main Fan Club closed and London records where unsure what to do with Bananarama as a duo. Effectively, the second world tour was no longer discussed or mentioned again.

The Pop Life album has 11 new tracks, all original aside from a lush cover of the Doobie Brothers "Long Train Running". Stand out tracks are Trippin' On Your Love (differs from single edit), dance track Only Your Love, reggae infused What Color Are The Skies Where U Live, S/A/W tracks Ain't No Cure (very PWL Lonnie Gordon) & Heartless, retro-rock Outta Sight & eurodance Preacher Man. Club track Megalomaniac & trip oriented I Can't Let You Go both being growers.

The Deluxe version contains two new original tracks, the infectiously catchy I Don't Care (not to be confused with the Shakespears Sister track, that would have been interesting!) would have been one of S/A/Ws better tracks of late 1989 had it been released, while Some Boys (not to be confused with Some Girls from WOW) sounded more like material from Michael Jacksons Bad album, this may have been due to being recorded in the USA while Jacko was still riding high on the hype generated by Moonwalker and the Bad Tour.

I only had digital copies of a couple of the remixes here. Disappointed they didn't include the Pacha Mix of Long Train Runnin' here (converting from the 10" picture disc to mp3 has lost a lot of the bass and sounds too tinny).

I remember watching these Bananarama BBC performances the first time. Wogan directly asked the group if they weren't with S/A/W and Karen proudly replied, "No, where with us now". It was a disappointment that they did go back to S/A/W for Please Yourself rather than attempt a Pop Life Mark II sound for the next album but at the time it was thought to be for the best. After over 30 years of Bananarama, this is the album that still sounds as fresh as the day it was released.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bananarama enter the nineties!, 11 April 2011
The new decade bought a new sound and a moderately sexier image for the girls and this their fifth proper studio album embodied their developemnt beautifully with a set of upbeat yet moody and innovative dance pop cuts which renewed their clubland roots.The variety of styles on this record indicated their dissatifaction with the Stock Aitken and Waterman hitmaking machine and a desire to be taken seriously.Opening number Preacher Man,one of the four singles from the albums adds a cooler harder beat to their hallmark euro pop/dance sound with moodier lyrics and a catchy chorus.Whilst the acclaimed cover of Long Train Running sees them succesfully pulling of the latin pop sound whilst retaining credibility and not filling it with cliches.Only Your Love the lead of single adds rock guitars and a pulsating house beat which indicates that the girls had been investigating current trends on the dance floors at the time whilst What Colour R The Skies Where You Live is a haunting reggae inspired number with an electronic edge and whispery vocals which make it sound fresh and invigorating.Is Your Life Strong Enough opens with a set of chords reminiscent of Robert DeNiros Waiting but soon moves into a moody acid house/pop style track similar in feel to Preacher Man and Only Your Love except with a more slower tempo and an experimental edge.Tripping On Your Love,the last single from the album and a firm fan favorite is a hard edge acid house affair with a guest rapper and an almost eastern style baseline.Aint No Cure and Heartless both reunite the girls with Stock Aitken Waterman though the sound is noticebly more dance then pop the songs still sound more formulatic compared to the rest of the record but never the less great sing along tunes.The girls show the edge of the album on the next three tracks Outta Sight is retro rock and house Meglemaniac is a pulsating energetic dance track again with a acid house feel and I Cant Let You Go is a credible chunky slice of moody laidback house.This album was the only one to be recorded with Jacqui O Sullivan who exited after the release of Tripping On Your Love.The 2007 re issue contains several remixes and single edits.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Oh Dear, 29 Nov 2010
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Though I'm a big Bananarama fan, but this album is a big disappointment. They always had a knack of making quite tragic lyrics sound quite jolly. Not the case here. The album is a very dull affair and is saved only by the tracks Heartless, Ain't No Cure and Tripping On Your Love. Heartless is produced by SAW and it would have been interesting had Bananarama decided to record an album with SAW at this point rather than waiting until 1993's Please Yourself, when the production team had clearly run out of steam.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Direction for the 'Rams?, 26 April 2009
By 
Jimmy Lovesey (Cardiff, South Wales) - See all my reviews
Four years passed between the release of 'WOW' and 'Pop Life'. New member Jacqui was eased in slowly with re-recordings of 'WOW' songs for single releases, some new tracks for a Greatest Hits collection, and a charity cover of the Beatles' "Help" (along with Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Kathy Burke) before she would feature on an original full-length album. 'Pop Life' proved to be the only long-player to feature Jacqui, and the last to feature Bananarama as a trio.

The album opens quietly with "Preacher Man", a nice enough pop song that is catchy and hummable but lacking the oooomph that their previous album openers boasted. The next track, their take on "Long Train Running", sounds much more powerful and confident but it is still lacking that certain something, oh yeah, fun! "Long Train Running" is dreadfully serious and seems lacking in any fun, the first time I listened to this album I was seriously worried that the rams' had lost their magic. Luckily, "Only Your Love" manages to deliver the goods. With the confidence of the previous track, bags of fun & attitude and litterred with "Whoop-whoops" and "na-na-na-na-na"s its up there with the 'True Confessions' & 'Wow' singles in my book. "What Colour are the Skies" is the girls in more serious and contemplative mood, but is a thoroughly enjoyable tune, and unlike Long Train, it doesn't suffer from its seriousness. Wow, I never realised before how bothered I was by Long Train! "Is Your Love Strong Enough" follows, and continues the confident and serious tone of the album, but its tempo and beat are ramped up slightly from the previous track, so no danger of getting bored! Coming firmly in the middle of the album is "Trippin on Your Love", a song which is consistently panned by ram fans, and I for one have no idea why! Yes, there are a few dodgy rap bits (as you'd expect from pop music at the time), but its an absolutely joyous little number that is often cited as having acid-house influences - so if you're a fan of that genre who also enjoys cheesy pop I highly reccomend you check this song out! By now the album is in full swing, and for those who worried it may be slightly heavy on the more serious numbers, the next track should see you heave a sigh of relief, as "Aint No Cure" proves high camp disco-pop, but still managing to stayin sync with the album as a whole, and not at all sounding like a 'Wow' reject. "Out of Sight" blasts its way into life with drum n bass beats, a crowd cheering, and the girls screaming. It's absolutely dripping with attitude, and manages to squash any lingering doubts one may have had after the opening two tracks. "Megalomaniac" follows, and may be the best song the girls ever recorded. It's a 6 and a half minute long sonic masterpiece - yes, its the Bananarama equivalent of Revolution No.9(!) - a driving, powerful and engaging track! When this song ends you may have expected the album to as well, as it seems like there really is no where else to go. However, there are 2 more tracks to go. "I Can't Let You Go" starts off with a riff that wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack to a low-brow drama about a brothel in the 1970s (listen to it to see what I mean), and that's not a bad thing at all. Its a dirty and grubby sounding little number, and all the better for it. The album closes with the relatively short and sweet "Heartless". It's not as good as the 3 songs preceeding it, but it manages to perfectly end the disc - the attitude of "Out of Sight", the dirtiness of "I Can't Let You Go", and the glamour of "Only Your Love".

Aside from faltering a bit at the start, overall 'Pop Life' is another strong album for the girls, and proved they could go on without Siobahn...
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars exit siobhan..welcome jacqui!, 1 April 2007
By 
Mr. Nathan Armstrong - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
well siobhan left and the girls brought in jacqui!

three singles "preacher man" "long train running" and "only your love" preceeded the release...none huge hits! and it seems some of the magic had gone!

the production although handed from saw still had a huge dance/eurobeat feel..but the songs never matched up! maybe they tried to move with the times and sadly although ok nothing stands out..its not a bad album just a bit boring after what they had done before!
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