Love Don't Live Here
Fuck! This is absolutely epic. When I first herd this I had to adance around the kitchen and pretend the second coming of Christ was finally here only embodied by Bananarama entrenched with soaring choruses and operatic backing vocals. This is a hybrid of anything tragic by Dusty Springfield, Pet Shop Boys and Your Disco Needs You. To say this is camp is a strict understatement. This must be a single. It is a declaration of war. A dramatic polemic of pop that we rarely hear these days. High notes: check, soaring chords: check, over the top lyrics about cupid: check and those all important strings: yes, yes, yes! When the chorus chimes in about stormy seas I can already envisage the video. Bananarama on a ship with tons of seaman lapping at their hips but they leave the girls on a rock just before they turn into mermaids.
My first thought was why. My second was why not! This is isn't all that different from the original version of Rapture. Bananarama however swap the eurodisco trinkets traced within the IIO original and add slick synth baselines to their version. They also introduce a brilliant middle 8 with totally new lyrics all of which pulls the listener into a state of Bananarama...a state I like to call the Bananarama Republic!
Welcome to the Bananarama Republic! Here banality is expelled to the moon & the stars come alive in your eyes. Extraordinary provides pulsating invitations from the ladies of Bananarama: you've got your ticket to ride and there's no return. Thats what this album promises: just let go and dance.
Well we all know about Love Comes for its the lead single. Its as cute as buttons. It does sound like Rachel Stevens mashed-up with Sophie Elis-Bextor's recent alliance with The Freemasons but that isn't actually a bad thing.
Yes, the girls go there. Doing this, a Three Degrees-Moroder classic, is a brave step that only few in the world can get away with & Bananarama are stepping on girlband holy-ground here. Its paved with broken mirrorballs, disco dramas and tattered hotpants. Do they reclaim the song and make it theirs? Not quite. Instead, rather than trying to compete with the original, perhaps realizing the hugeness of song Bananarama pay tribute to the the anthem allowing it to breathe and giving The Runner the space it truly deserves. Ian Mastersons production is flawless.
Tell Me Tomorrow
Fans of Kylie's The One will love Tell Me Tommorow. Herein, the girls start to sound like the ladies from ABBA. The rather rude lyrics of the bridge about the effects of "sweet honey" are truly glorious.
We've Got The Night
Power pop at its finest. Note the second reference of love coming in the first verse on the album. The line "lets dance across the midnight skies" is a pure gem. Again, this retraces some of Kylie's turns from her EMI years especially the glorious Light Years era. We've Got The Night has the demand "I Want to be the 3rd single, please" all over it.
Sigh. This is too good to be true. The girls go all robotic and demand the listener to take them to the city "where all the people are pretty". Seventeen is a understated electro-synth-pop song that will have you recalling the work from Holly Valances' second album especially Roll Over and State Of Mind. Core references of Seventeen are of course the 1980s but don't assume they've pulled a Lady Gaga/La Roux. These women were icons long before the current pretenders were even strands of DNA. Bananarama own that sound and should seen in the same category as their true pop compatriots Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys. As such, as the very first electro beats of Seventeen kick-in, La Roux and that stupid hair of hers are squashed somewhat like the ginger bluebottle that she is. Bananarama probably do it with hot fuck-me pumps designed by Vivienne Westwood. Listen to Seventeen and you will hear what I mean. Don't mess with Misses B.
This is why you can't ever compare Bananarama to fellow British girlbands Girls Aloud & The Saturdays. To do such a thing would be rather ridiculous. Twisting sounds like a sublime darker re-take of Toxic. It is epic but not in the same way as you'd expect. It slithers around your aural organs & reminds me somewhat of the more throbbing moments from Fisherspooner's first album. Yes, the girls do electroclash. I love it.
Wow. Yikes. When I first heard this I hated it. Then I loved it as it sounded somewhat like it was taken from Clea's second album. This is absolutely cute and Bananarama ensure the brilliance of the Fox original is still in there. S-S-S-Single Bed is great to warm up the cockles of the heart whilst your freezing your ass off waiting for the bus to arrive in the pouring rain.
The Sound Of Silence
Another cover & I love it. Part of me wanted to crack open the Cizano & watch a bit of Victoria Wood. There is something incredibly 1980s about this song/cover. I don't quite know why that is. It could be that my class sung this back to back with Away in A Manger in my first year at primary school. The year was the Christmas of 1987 & I was four. Happy happy moments. Wimpy still existed & everything seemed like a dream.
Dum Dum Boy
Some of the boys living in Bananarama Republic have "lying eyes" and "speak the language of love" according Dum Dum Boys. But then again, they have lots of toys which makes me rather interested. Sadly, Bananarama refuse to expand on the specifics of the exact type of toys that seems to bring so much shame but they do confess that they swallow hard. Personally, this is fine by me. Compared to the rest of the songs on Viva, this is perhaps the most average & thats simply because it has some stiff confession. Put this on the last Madonna album and it would outshine everything on that entire album.
You can enter Bananarama Republic by purchasing your copy of the album, Viva, on Amazon (here).