Sunday 11 February 2018

Record Collection Random Choice (RCRC) - E: Eurythmics - Revenge

'Revenge' was the sixth album by The Eurythmics, and was released in 1986.
Their first album (1981s 'In The Garden').  The album was a statement of intent by the ex-Tourists, and marked the direction where they (are possibly more correctly Dave Stewart) believed they should be heading.
A co-production credit for Conny Plank and guest appearances from Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit (Can) sat the band firmly in the synth-pop/electronica/BritKrautrock camp.

Seemingly unconcerned by previous failure, RCA continued to sponsor the band, and after 4 more non chart or low chart placing singles, 1983s 'Sweet Dreams' proved to be the turning point.
Helped in no small part by the sales of the single "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" (UK Number 2), and it's accompanying video featuring Dave Stewart looking like a mad hippy professor-boffin, and Annie Lennox resplendent in a black suit and orange cropped hair.
Building on the breakthrough, a second album ("Touch") followed in late 1983.  Tracks from the album were remixed as "Touch Dance" in early 1984, and they also produced the soundtrack for the film Nineteen Eighty-Four.
All this activity was accompanied by regular appearances in the singles chart.
Their next album ('Be Yourself Tonight') saw the band moving to a more "conventional band", with the electronics taking a bit of a back seat.

By 'Revenge', the mutation was pretty much complete.
Here the Eurythmics are sounding like Blondie Meets The Beatles, and the album is an exercise in 80s studio sheen coupled with some very well written, well performed songs.
The only downside to this is that it does at times feel a little clinical.  It becomes the acceptable side of (slightly raucous) yuppie music, like it would sit comfortably in a loft apartment alongside Dire Straits 'Brothers In Arms' and Phil Collins 'No Jacket Required', or placed on a coffee table alongside Madonna's Sex book
(I know this album and Madonna's book are about 6 years apart, but hopefully you get the point of my inane ramblings)

The main focus of the album is the 4 singles lifted from it ("When Tomorrow Comes", "Thorn In My Side", "The Miracle Of Love" and "Missionary Man").  Of the remaining tracks, only "The Last Time" comes close to hitting the same spot.  That's not to say the other tracks are throwaway filler, but they just never really jump out of the speakers.

Building from 'Be Yourself Tonight', 'Revenge' reveals what a fine Rock voice Annie Lennox possesses.  She is equally adept at the slower, emotive, ballad-y stuff, but one forgets (certainly in the light of her chosen output in later years) just how strong her voice is.

Last Eurythmics album proper?
Later releases became more of a vehicle/showcase for Annie Lennox's voice (and why not?  she has a very, very fine and clear voice), and a production exercise for Dave Stewart - all competent, but just don't seem to have "it"

I've not heard this album all the way through for about 15 or 20 years.
There is no doubt it falls into the "thoroughly competent" category, but it may be a similar time before it's pulled from the shelf again.

When Tomorrow Comes

Thorn In My Side

1 comment:

  1. My favourite Eurythmics albums are the two that followed this... Though I'll concede they didn't have the same big hit singles. I'm not sure what that says about me, other than that I must be a sucker for Annie Lennox's voice.