Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happy Anniversary!

I Say I Say I Say by Erasure
Album Review by Armond White
(originally published in Rolling Stone (697))

   The little girls understand when Andy Bell sings, "Like a knight in shining armor, you came over." On eight albums, Bell has defined himself through smoky-voiced human longing or high-pitched expectation. Teammate Vince Clarke underscored Bell's daring with wizardly keyboard melodies that sounded like lone synth musings or a hellbent pop orchestra.

On I Say, I Say, I Say, Erasure continue their adventurous pursuit of unabashed romantic expression. They restore all meanings to the word gay.
The first single, "Always," proclaims:


"Always/I wanna be you/And make believe with you/And live in harmony, harmony/Oh, love." 

When Bell repeats harmony over Clarke's neo-Mozart pulsing, he justifies the exuberant personal outpouring with angelic musical ardor. The lack of embarrassment is a radiant, liberating force that shines across music culture's demographics. It suits a wider audience than teen-age girls.

Erasure's elaborate, precise songcraft makes for great pop (the 1992 collection of their redoubtable hits was appropriately titled Pop!). I Say, I Say, I Say puts the British duo back on that unerring track after their previous release, the inevitable yet uneven Abba-esque EP. The uptempo gems "I Love Saturday" and "Run to the Sun" and the ballads "Take Me Back," "Miracle" and "Man in the Moon" show a range fit for dancing or swooning, every track as splendid as pop should be. (RS 697)

ARMOND WHITE

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