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If you buy just one Bananarama studio album that is not from the 80's, make it this one.,
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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.