Alison Moyet always strikes me as an artist who came about at the wrong time in the world of pop music. The 80’s just didn’t manage to showcase her artistic craft and I believe her career suffered due to the way she was managed and presented to the world.
I really enjoyed most of the tracks on the the debut album Alf – Alison Moyet (1984) but accepted that on this album it was there to showcase her hit making ability as well as her distinctive and rich voice.
“Raindancing” doesn’t really move things on and I would say it actually boxes her in to a hole of being just an 1980’s middle of the road pop artist. This is something Moyet would fight to get out of over the next decade.
It should be known going into this that the artist herself does not like this album and the big hits that came from it. I am actually in disagreement with Moyet on some of her views of this project because in retrospect I do not think it is that bad and some her vocal delivery is just outstanding.
One of the songs Moyet doesn’t like is one of my favourite songs by her – “Weak In The Presence Of Beauty” It is a cover of a song by British Band Floy Joy which had been released the year before. Moyet covered it because she thought it was going to be a hit and she was spot on with this assumption.
The track may be a bit too sweet for many but I love it. Moyet delivers it in such as convincing way and the way she takes the melodic nature of the track and conveys such soulful emotion really gets me.
My like for this song could just be because I connect it to a personal memory of my Father owning this album on cassette (which had a Red CBS sticker on the front and back) and this particular song being played a lot (as it was the opening track so every journey would get this played).
The production is very 80’s and the instrumentation doesn’t help it sound anything other than sweet and clean. But it’s a got a sing a long chorus and its as big a pop song as you would want.
“Ordinary Girl” starts off as if we are about to hear Pat Benatar “Love Is A Battlefield” as Moyet again delivers a solid vocal performance which perhaps isn’t done justice by the production style but ultimately this album was made to be successful and the producers knew what they were doing even if some 31 years on it doesn’t quite sound right.
“You Got Me Wrong” is a little funkier than anything else on the set which is welcome but sadly the song really goes nowhere and whilst I think Moyet sounds good I am not convinced that she is totally into the song.
On 4th track “Without You” the deficiencies of this album come into the light and it isn’t good. This is a horrible song with the tempo too fast for Moyet to keep up with and the horrible country style atmosphere created by an accordion is just so far away from what you expect from a Alison Moyet song. The synths sounds terrible and this is a bit of a revolting track.
“Sleep Like Breathing” tries to capture the drama of “All Cried Out” from the debut album but doesn’t get anywhere near. This is so dreary its probably best not to listen if you are of a depressed disposition because this could push you over the edge. Even the title of the song is so boring. This is a duet with producer David Freeman whose voice is just so banal I just kept praying for this awful peice of turgid noise to end.
The next song was the big hit from “Raindancing” and one of the big Alison Moyet songs “Is This Love” lightens the mood from what was fast becoming a difficult listen.
The production is bright and the melody is just gorgeous. Moyet sounds so at home on one of her biggest hits. The song is made by the melody and the catchy chorus with the lyrics being pretty standard 80’s affair as they are laden with cliches and quirky comments about living in wonderland and being better off this way.
“Blow Wind Blow” is a dramatic reverb heavy piano led ballad. The reverb is such that Moyet sounds as if she is alone in the dark in a massive hall. This drama suits her vocal style and I actually really enjoy the almost dark tone this track sets.
“Glorious Love” sounds incredibly dated but I think it is one of the best songs on the entire album. It’s so damn 80’s it could make me shiver but it’s brighter than a lot of the tracks. The song has elements of gospel in the chorus as it could easily be turned into a song about goal. The chorus lyric is “This glorious love” when a simple change to “His glorious love” would change this song dramatically.
“When I Say (No Giveaway)” is the penultimate track. This sounds like an hybrid of many of the other tracks on the album. It’s very upbeat as this album continues to change the mood of itself with a unenjoyable brashness.
The final track off this grating album is “Stay”. Moyet delivers this sincerely and sounds as good as we know she can be with her distinct vocal. This song just goes to show how much of a world class vocalist Alison Moyet is. The problem is the material and that has largely plagued her throughout her career. This song is nice enough but lacks anything to make you love it.
After such an enjoyable debut album this was a terrible disappointment. It’s problem is simply that the songs are not good enough. There isn’t anything vocally challenging and lyrically it is a safe as you will find. There seems to be confusion to what the record company wanted from Moyet who after the debut album had room to do something special but ended up with this piece of forgettable 80’s crap.