After four albums of eerie, moody synth/pop, Eurythmics decided to rock, and the result was their most successful album, making them huge in the mid-80s.
And they certainly do it well. On the first half of Be Yourself Tonight
, "Would I Lie To You?" and the women's lib duet with Aretha Franklin - "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" - both blast through the speakers with unbridled confidence, while the milder "There Must Be An Angel" is lovely and pretty, with Annie Lennox's vocals never sounding better.
I still prefer the duo's synth leanings though, and that's more apparent on the album's second half, with the charming "Adrian" a highlight, helped by the vocals of Elvis Costello, which is curious, since his voice is hardly a thing of beauty, yet is quite lilting on that track. And "It's Alright (Baby's Coming Back)" brings back just a touch of the mystery, although it's far from being their best work.
The album's highlight is the concluding "Better to Have Lost in Love", a track that blends rock and haunting pop into a smooth, delicate mixture that's quite divine, even though from personal experience I don't agree with the lyrics' sentiments.
Be Yourself Tonight
is certainly an impressive album, and yet when I think of the best of Eurythmics' work, my mind prefers to linger on the likes of "Here Comes the Rain Again". That period of their career just does more for me. Rated:
by Reviewer: The Doctor
Posted: Friday 20th Jul 2018 9:20 PM
The endless horny come-ons to his mistress on I Want You
apparently represented the last straw for Gaye's wife Anna Gordy, who finally divorced him in 1976, and as part of the settlement was set to receive all income from his next Motown album.
So Gaye gave her this (drolly titled Here, My Dear
, which I guess was a compromise on the proposed Here Devil Satan Whore Bitch Succubus
) - a 73-minute double LP filled with nasty invective, highly personal attacks and allegations, and enough denial to give Hilary Clinton convulsions, a sort of Ultimate Fuck Off statement to end them all - relationship closure by means of scorched earth.
Gaye wanted Anna to hurt when she heard this, give her something to remember him by besides the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would end up earning for her. And wouldn't ya know it - an album made in desperation and exhaustion by a crystallized former soul angel, chaotically runs into a pulsating soup of Nerf disco ballads and gentle sci-fi grooves. But to me, that's definitely part of this bastard's charms.
Here, My Dear
is more an hour-plus stream-of-consciousness rant than an actual album of songs, demonstrating Gaye's uncanny ability to articulate the fog in his head without filters or censors, just like on I Want You
. This is how he felt, truth be damned. And if it could be labelled unfocused, well, goddam it to heck, he was by nature unfocused, and just as Bono can't be faulted for dancing like a drunken Irishman, or Stevie Wonder for his penmanship, Gaye can't be faulted for coming across like a scatterbrain.
Describing this album is like juggling Jello cubes ... messy, unsatisfying, and bound to end in someone falling over and cracking their head on the floor. I've yet to read an adequate description of the album either as a whole or in part, because anyone who attempts it gets lost in Gaye's jungle of half-finished grooves underlying non-melodies, inevitably petering out long before a song actually finishes, else segues into the next groove. I for one always get completely lost in the scenery after the righteous Curtis Mayfield-isms of "Anger", at least until "A Funky Space Reincarnation" comes round.
Only "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You" constitutes a full-fledged song, and it's the most bile-filled track of them all, a real harrowing listen, as Gaye slams Anna for lying to God
. Otherwise, Here, My Dear
is about as coherent as a glue-sniffer delivering the Gettysburg Address, with every track sounding like a side-long extended remix disco single.
But setting aside the album's lack of hooks, or hit singles, or structure, or melodies, it's a fascinating place to get lost in, and a whole afternoon could be spent listening to it as an endlessly repeating loop of funk-lite. It feels like sitting back on a porch somewhere, getting more and more stoned while Gaye keeps muttering about his old woman jetting out the door. Luckily, he gets less and less audible and less and less coherent as the hours and the joints pass, until it begins to turn into a flat-out jive rap like on "Sparrow", more notable for its cadence and insistency than any actual meaning.
The backing is just as loose and unfocused as Gaye, so fits like a glove. As to whether it's worthy or not is down to personal taste - Gaye vocalizing his pain in an inherently selfish and dishonest manner is not for everyone. But my, does his voice sound fine ... this album features his best vocals since Let's Get It On
, and counters what appears to be my premature rumblings of ossifying vocal cords on London Palladium
I guess I haven't really reviewed this album, but that's OK, because Gaye didn't really write one. He just spent a double-LP slinging mud, and doing it with bedroom eyes the whole time.Rated:
by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza
Posted: Saturday 21st Jul 2018 10:28 AM