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Good, but that's as far as it gets.
on 17 June 2013
A Eurythmics new album was always an object of anticipation. As a kid I devoured "Touch" and "Sweet Dreams", and was very thrilled knowing about other albums that happen to appear later on - "1984" (which was probably the least appealing to me at the time due its confrontational, dark overtones) and especially "Be Yourself Tonight". Then along came "Revenge" and of course, the pinnacle of their creativity, "Savage" - the latter ticked-off by most critics but deservedly loved and respected by the fans (myself included). Sadly, anticipation wasn't the term I can use regarding "We Too Are One". After "Savage", this one was the unexpected let-down. Many novelties happened at the time (take one Shakespear's Sister to start with), and Eurythmics' new album simply didn't succeed offering any new tricks under the hat, with white rabbits already dispersed around, leaving Annie and Dave heavily contrasted and blurred away from each other. In their 1990 video compilation called "Beyond the Groove", Annie and Dave are filmed having an argument over Dave's working methods, Annie clearly expressing her frustration by throwing things at him (and while this could be acting, the whole scene seems far too real to deny they became quite sick of eachother at that stage).
In retrospect, how I wish Eurythmics weren't as ambitious, signing their (inevitable) capitulation to rock. Their catalogue always showed a stunning experimental side (especially considering their involvement with many post-punk outcasts and the like), which proves Eurythmics were much more of an unconventional pop-unit willing to flirt with the avant-garde...
While "Be Yourself Tonight" and "Revenge" did demonstrate stunning balance between techno and rock respectively, the stadium effect and the omnipresent breaking America ambitions definitely affected Dave and Annie's point of view, and "We Too Are One" sadly suffered as a result. Things all of a sudden turned out sounding like second-rate, predictable (and dated) pop-rock ("King & Queen Of America" without Lennox's gorgeous voice is practically a very lame ZZ Top-track!). Of course, like with each previous album, Eurythmics still showed their professional side and delivered a collection of decent proportions - which is well worth admiration but also a reflection of cracks that began to show. Both sound musically potent but so distant and un-together. And I remember them announcing this album via MTV during late '89, with "Revival" being the track of choice to carry out the promotional side of the campaign. While nowhere near as bad, "Revival" suddenly provoked this indifference in me - Eurythmics all of a sudden didn't create the thrill. The sound was there and this was a well-conceived (or better, calculated) radio-hit, but the lyrics and the overall impression was just ordinary, plain, mediocre pop-rock.
Annie already had her solo excursions previously (with Robert Görl and Al Green), which finally reflected in a strong solo-debut "Diva", while Dave somehow demonstrated with his post-Eurythmics solo-work ("Spiritual Cowboys" and soundtrack for "De Cassiere" aka "Lily Was Here") where all the rock-doodling comes from. Considering his production and otherwise efforts put in Eurythmics' best, it was truly disappointing to hear how boring his solo outing was comparing to that of Lennox's. Of course "Lily Was Here" is a nice transitional instrumental duet with Candy Dulfer on par with "We Too Are One" - practically, the soundtrack can be considered an extended leg of Eurythmics' 80s farewell LP. For a successful duo fighting its own battles to survive in an endless sea of sharks and little fish, this is still a triumph. Gems like "Don't Ask Me Why", "You Hurt Me (And I Hate You)", "Sylvia" and "Angel" do make this album worth possessing. The rest of the material however, despite its contagious sing-alongs, marks a certain downfall in Eurythmics songbook - entirely pathetic (if not patronising) lament of "When the Day Goes Down", the foolishness of "(My My) Baby's Gonna Cry", the American dream of "King & Queen Of America" or the confusing rhyme in "How Long" (a stunning song actually, but "A ship of fools in a crazy choir, is gonna take you home and light your fire"?!).