Overall Album Score: 7.7 out of 10
Now, look ... I hope you weren't expecting too much out of Erasure. I wasn't, and I'm not surprised that they took a bit of a slump in their sophomore release. But, alas, it could have been worse. Much worse. ... And their debut album wasn't exactly a classic, either, so ... I'm not really put-out by this.
And a 7.7 is a decent score, anyway. I don't know why I started out this review like that! ... Maybe I'm just running out of ideas or something. This is a decent album! Entirely decent! Only one song on here totally bombs ... "Spiraling" ... because it doesn't seem to do anything. Plenty of other songs on here are great, though. "Hideaway" is my favorite with a classic, catchy Vince Clarke melody, a fun vocal performance from Andy Bell, and ... yeah. It's a good 80s pop song! Also, I enjoy the album's opener "It Doesn't Have to Be," which sounds almost exactly like Duran Duran (which is never a bad thing, usually). "If I Could" is a pretty good mid-tempoed song featuring some phony violins (...it could have been worse...) but the melody is nice, so I end up liking those danged synths. And "Sometimes" is another song I really like, which is a pleasant throwback to the New Romantic genre (...which, I guess wasn't totally out-of-fashion in 1987, but it was well passed its peak). Some of the other songs are nice ... others are just weak ... and one just sucks.
Overall, this is a decent album. Not quite as good as their previous effort, but it's still pretty good. Again Vince Clarke and Andy Bell don't know what it means to be artistic, which is a huuuuuge flaw, but ... then again ... if I was looking for "artistic" music, Erasure probably isn't the best place for you to look for it.
Overall Album Score: 7.7 out of 10 (Much weaker this time around ... a few of these songs are excellent, though ... but others are simply glitzy without much substance to show for it.)
Average Song Score: 8.1 (Overall another commendable songwriting effort from Vince Clarke and singer Andy Bell ... but half of the material is kinda weak.)
Album Tilt: 7.5 (It works well enough for an 80s pop album. It weakens during the latter half of the album, but that's pretty normal.)
Artist Rating: 7.5 (Not impressive whatsoever in the artistic sense.)
It Doesn't Have to Be 9/10
80s radio pop at its finest ... well, not quite, but ... This is 80s radio pop and it's not terrible at all. Bell's style of singing (here, sounding exactly like Simon LeBron of Duran Duran) is quite nice. Duran Duran's lead vocals were always nice, so why shouldn't this, since it's impossible to tell them apart? And the melody is nice, and the rhythm is all happy and synth-poppy. There's nothing to hate about this, so why should you?
More of an actual synth-pop song as opposed to a Duran Duran song ... still very good! The melody has PLENTY of hooks in them. The falsetto chorus is fun. I love synth-pop (You've got to love synth-pop. If you don't love synth-pop and you love music ... then you are probably a Calvanist music lover or something ... or you're more than 50 years old and you hated pop music in the 80s.) Anyway, this song doesn't pretend to be anything more than it is ... and what it is is a lightweight yet tremendously catch 80s synth-pop tune.
Don't Dance 8/10
This guy is an absolute natural as a songwriter. FEW people have his talent at doing melodies! (And that is frustrating ... it stinks having to sit through people's music who can't write a good hook to save their lives.) And this song has plenty of hooks ... it's just not that great of a melody. And the 80s production isn't that good ... indeed, songs like this might be what 80s-pop-haters complain so much about 80s music. It's all gloss and not a whole not of actual substance. The synth-pop quality of this one isn't quite as addictive as it might have been, I guess. Not a terrible song, though. I enjoy listening to it ... though barely.
If I Could 9/10
Here's a good mid-tempoed, sort of romantic synth-pop song. This is kind of minimal (for an 80s song ... a lot of bands were drowning out their songs with syrupy synthesizers)! This is still pretty good for the 80s pop radio, and the melody is great. It's synth-pop addictivus like was always supposed to be!
...Ohhhhhhhhhh, now they're tackling CONTROVERSYYYYYYYYY!!! Uh oh. Sexuality. TABOOOOOOOOO! You might just have to suffer a visit from the Church Lady if you're not careful enough. ... It's not my inner Church Lady that's forcing me to give this song a 7. I am disappointed with the lack of concrete hooks in here. They do what any typical 80s pop band would do and try diverting your attention to how it's dressed up. And this is very glitzy and polished 80s radio. I like how some of this is done (notably the keyboard stuff in here), but I don't like the song much as a whole.
Victim of Love 7.5/10
I like this song overall, I guess. But ... like "Sexuality," this is all style and little substance. There are a few good pop-hooks in here, but ... this just grows tiresome. ... Synth-pop can do that if you're not careful, boys.
Leave Me to Bleed 7.5/10
Again ... this song isn't bad ... it just isn't that great. Too much glamour for its worth.
Now this song kicks in the proper fashion! This is good 80s pop music!!! I like the melody, I like how the background music supports it, I like the jerky New Wave beat (...this is not totally even synth-pop...) I just like it! A pleasant song after listening to those three previous relative downers.
The Circus 8/10
They try to put a circus twang on this synth-pop 80s radio song. The melody is pretty good, but ... ummmmmm ... this really doesn't make such a great song. It's mildly entertaining, though ... I guess you can't always expect much more than that from such an 80s pop band! The instrumentation here does get slightly annoying ... what with those fake (albeit intentional) horn sounds and organ sounds. That's the 80s for you!! ... This song is more than five minutes long and I can't really say that it grow too tiresome, however.
Aye caramba! This is a very slow, very quiet song that goes on for more than three minutes always sounding like it's going to go into a crescendo and catch fire or something, but it NEVER does! Hey, Vince person!!!!!!! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????????????????????????????????????????
In the Hall of the Mountain King 8/10
Apparently having run out of good ideas (...man... I still think Clarke is a natural songwriter ... and "Spiralling" naturally sucked ...) he does a synth version of that old classical song written by Edvard Greig. I love that song, but ... why Erasure decided to cover it will be beyond me forever. (Then again, The Who covered this song!!!) This wasn't so bad an effort; it was just unnecessary.
All reviews are copyrighted by the author, Michael Lawrence. He likes boobs.