Overall Album Score: 8.2 out of 10
Yeah. I'm reviewing Erasure. This is the third band started by Vince Clarke (who previously started Depeche Mode and Yaz ... the latter of which folded). At this point, I haven't extensively listened to any Depeche Mode or Yaz albums, but ... it doesn't matter! I'm reviewing freaking ERASURE whether you like it or not!
...And, this album is probably what you're thinking it is (if you're at all familiar with what Depeche Mode and Yaz is). Synth-pop. This is very very simple synth-pop, too. Perhaps too simple. I mean ... dudes ... Vince Clarke doesn't seem to know what POMPOUS means here! This is quite minimalist for synth-pop.
But, indeed, Vince Clarke knows how to write a melody. (Albeit, simple melodies, but ... they're still good melodies!) When you have good melodies, there's really not much else to complain about. Pomposity sometimes gets annoying, anyway, so why would I really want it?
Because pomposity makes your dang song seem important!!!! These songs have fine melodies, but ... they're forgettable! What's wrong with Eno-fying your stuff a little bit? Why not spend an extra month giving these songs a special TWANG like what good old Brian Eno would do?? Before reviewing this, I just finished reviewing a Journey album and basically complained throughout the whole thing that it lacked melodies, but said that it was right-on when it came to the instrumentals and production. ... This album has the opposite problem! Since melody is ultimately the most important thing in the song (...well secondmost ... I guess rhythm would come first... man, if a song didn't have a rhythm, you're screwed!), this is DEFINITELY the better album. Even though it's 80s synth-pop. And it's not like these aren't listenable! Most of these songs, I think, probably fared quite nicely on that 1986 radio. I just think they could have done more with this, since they obviously have the goods fer it!
Well, I guess Clarke really wasn't into that kind of stuff. And his partner (the singer and fellow songwriter) Andy Bell didn't bother trying to inspire him to adopt such awesome artistries. Which is fine. Wonderland is an enjoyable album! But it could have been MORE. Oh, baby.
Overall Album Score: 8.2 out of 10 (Erasure's debut is pleasant, straight-forward, full of catchy melodies ... and nothing else. If nothing else matters to you, then ... here you go.)
Average Song Score: 8.7 (Straight-forward and catchy! What's there not to love about these songs? ... ... ...)
Album Tilt: 8.0 (Oh wait. There is something not to like about the songs. They might be pleasant and simple ... but they're too pleasant and simple. They don't leave much of a lasting impression.)
Artist Rating: 8.0 (Again, this band is totally void of artistic ambitions! That might be a good thing (read: Styx), but ... still!! Gaah!!! At least they're unpretentious.)
Who Needs Love (Like That) 9/10
Ohhhh ... why try to deny it? There's something about this type of classy synth-pop that makes it, as I'm listening to it, rule over everything else. ... GOOD synth-pop makes me wonder why I even bother listening to stuff like The Rolling Stones or The Beatles. ... I really do like synth-pop! But ... I fear the only reason I like synth-pop is because it's addictive. And this Vince Clarke guy knows how to write a good pop hook.
The chorus gets annoying, but at least the melody has a few decent hooks in it. And these bloody repetitive synth notes are so freaking addictive!!! That annoying chorus doesn't make me like this one. This time, the guilty pleasure isn't even that enjoyable!
Cry So Easy 8/10
This song has a nice hook or two in it, but it's obvious and repeats too much! The flow into the chorus is nice and smooth, though, so I cannot hate this little ditty.
How here's a perfectly nice synth-pop song! The hooks in the melody are well done and all those choppy drum machine things and synth blip things were well-put-together. But this isn't very memorable!
Heavenly Action 9.5/10
I wasn't listening to the radio in 1986, but I can imagine that this one made a showing. And it's not a bad song at all. The melody is quite nice (as most of these are). It's not a perfect song, but it's good ear candy.
Say What 8.5/10
Again, nice melody! ... If there was going to be synth-pop anyway, it's a good thing we had somebody like Vince Clarke making the melodies so dang catchy. Why listen to pop otherwise? ... Of course, he's not very ambitious, but ... we already know that about him ... This is a perfectly fun song for the synth-pop age.
Love is a Loser 9/10
Well, ya know, the bad thing about Erasure is the lack of ambition! This is yet another catchy synth-pop song ... and it doesn't really become anything other than inoffensive bubble gum pop. Of course, this is a wonderful bubble gum pop song ... as far as they go.
March On Down the Line 9.5/10
This is another one of those songs that I could imagine would have fared well on the 1986 radio. Among all the good melodies on the album, this is among the better ones! ... Still not tremendously memorable, but it's still pretty good (and addictive). I like the chorus! This is the best song on the album. Barely.
My Heart ... So Blue 7.5/10
Eh ... I can't get too enthusiastic about this one ... not that I was head-over-heels enthusiastic about any of these songs, really. But this one is ... just ... zzzzzzzzz ...
Oh L'Amour 9/10
Oh, what a pleasant song to close with. Another nice, catchy melody from Clarke (and Bell) and ... ohhhhhh ... Quite pleasant. The end.
All reviews are copyrighted by the author, Michael Lawrence. He once thought his foot was made out of marijuana.