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Love that should have sold A Million Other Things...
on 22 March 2013
And would have done, were the music business a bastion of fairness and equality, but sadly, though music was at its best in the 80s, a virtual brick wall of old standing kept women from being leaders, even though they equalled the men in the quality stakes, yet once the omnipresent nightmare of greed and exhibition that is Madonna mushroomed into being, women no longer needed to be talented or worthwhile to 'sell' a record, as the S/A/W boom of Kylies and then the absoulte dearth of talent from both sexes once the 90s took hold-something that has carried on to this day-continues to show. You just have to be a slut. But equally bad was the main fact that no European act was of any consequence to a label when home-grown talent (or lack of) was the best sell to the UK/US mainstream, and old prejudices die hard. Claudia was given, initially far more push then the even better German twin force of male band Alphaville and German's actual Queen of Pop since 1985, Sandra Cretu were, but even then, Trevor Horn abandoned her group Propaganda instantly once his silly Frankie Goes To Hollywood vehicle took hold, and ZTT Records themselves were criminally fleecing them out of every small cent they made, so she extricated herself as soon as possible. Her absence seemed unending (though she made a record as the duo Act in 1987), but in 1991, this solo piece, now well restored by Cherryredrecords, deserved far more push than it got from the world.
Clearly the mainstream could accept no more long-term Europeans then the cynically highly welcomed twin clout of A-ha and Roxette, but the best three German acts ever continued successfully alongside them, even if only in other markets. There's no doubting the class and sophistication of Claudia's tracks, but the avante garde approach does need time to acclimatise too over the more easy listening enterprise favoured by some. It's a record not quite up there with the majority of Kim Wilde, Bangles, Alphaville and Sandra albums, but it's a far better bet than the heavily instrumental indulgence but lyrically rather deficient 'A Secret Wish' by Propaganda. This is a full album of songs for a start, not just eight, with plenty of vocals. The choruses aren't multi-stranded but they're good and three songs-the rise and falling sweep of the excellent 'Unforgiveable', intense challenge of 'Fanatic (The Nail In My Soul)' and all-round accessibility of the straightforward yet special 'Love: In Another World' are absolute masterpieces, and would have made great singles. Of the two known singles, 'Kiss Like Ether' usually gets the vote over 'Absolut(e)', but I agree only if I can delete the album version over the "As Pure" single version-track 8 on CD2-because it doesn't try the patience with over two minutes of barely intelligible chanting to put you in a doze. 'Absolut(e)' may not have the best chorus for some, but is a catchy and intoxicating song, and many of the choruses on this album are one line repeated twice in any case, the kind of Annie Lennox way, but without the mudanity. The album itself is cheekily titled: love is mainly the topic, over anything else, but it is the way she does it that counts.
Post-80s albums are seldom fresh as this this, though 'Kiss Like Ether' smacks heavily of Donna Summer's 'State Of Independence', 'Always...' could easily be a Sade number, and the space-age sheen and industrial noises of closer 'Surprise' bring to mind OMD and Kraftwerk at once. 'Baby Sigh' and 'Moments Of Joy' have a laid-back charm, livelier moments like many already named and 'Suicide: Song For A Ghost' ensure something for almost every palette. The second disc catches the different mixes of the two singles, plus 2 b-sides that didn't make the album for good reason. They're okay, just not all that, and the first one goes on too long with little musical change. But they add nicely to the unalbumed songs she's made over the years (see her recent-ish compilation 'Combined' for a clearer tracklist). Suggested third single 'Fanatic' has no other versions here, but this long-awaited re-release from cherryred will please most everyone, especially those who've only heard Claudia whenever the radio emits 'Duel'.
Just like the Kim Wilde, Duran Duran and Bangle's debut album reissues, the mastering isn't perfect, the clarity seems muffled in places, and there's also static and rather abrupt fades, but that won't detract from a classy and individual lost album finally back out on release. You get the usual booklet with some lavish photography and a historical document of the album's construction, including a few complimentary reviews from journos, who chauvanistically ignore the fact her true contemporaries like Kim Wilde and Sandra had been on top of the partially electronic game ever since they appeared, only mentioning a few male ones. But put this reocrd on and see how it rips the Kylies and Madonnas to pieces (not actually hard). And S/A/W would kill for 'Love: In Another World', only in another world, they'd hopefully never have been born, and a million other things.