Sunday, 21 March 2010

Eurythmics - Savage

Beneathe minimal socialization, above humid and vacuous affairs, in bed with dirty aligators and cuckholding poor Japanese boys, even at its hookiest, Dave and Annie's carefully designed emotions are extreme yet incisively recogniseably. Conjuring beauty from bruises (I Need You), redemption from diamonds (the title track) or chronic fondness for assholes (I Need A Man), Annie's kitchen sink is glued to the notion of love as punishment, performance, power or just mere preferance. It's soaring highlights score so high that even the disparate moments merely bring it down to perfection. The unnatural setting of Savage is the Eurythmics' epochal era of spellbinding glamour and sonic youth.

When it begins you don't know where to look. The stabbing asphyixiating vogueing-throb Beethoven (I Love To Listen) is a choking Hi-NRG lasceration. Annie's demented housewife pulls her hair out and finds an immaculate wig, supposing boys like that are looking for trouble with girls after something extreme. The disgust and desire of a repressed housewife beyond breaking point, flares her nostrils in furious approval. Dave's beats tremor and quake with razorblaid intensity, causing commotion to sound like a hall of mirrors fragmenting into split personalities. The effect is vicious and hostile, and yet more exhilirating than Britney stringing a sentence together.

The weightless I've Got A Lover (Back In Japan) filters tranquil synths with Annie's sleek Elvis crooning accessorising her fame with a young Japanese boy one can only imagine she has selected specifically for his lack of speaking English. The cloudy extravagance is wrapped up with thorny guitars crashing into the chorus. Speaking with seducing clarity, 'I was bitter when I met you, I was eloquent with rage' has found a little closure. Her finest Aretha impersonation shows off her pipes even if it's undeniably phoney.

More hacking drums embark upon Do You Want To Break-Up's miraculously determinded separation pitch with statuesque glimmering traces of Grace Jones' I'm Perfect. Risidual synths are rinsed away leaving the scaffolding of Dave's daft drumming architecture to cleverly creak like doors closing or opening.

Annie's icy vocals sting with arctic pathos on Hi-NRG ballad You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart, endorsing love's bankruptcy to 'get it on credit if you need some more'. 'I just want someone to hold' is expressed so humanly her roleplay is undeniable. Nursing yet more wounds, Shame is tinged with the remorse of a materialistic lifestyle.

The seethingly lush post-debauchery masochism of Savage is a pre-Cribs 80s airvent circulating cold and world-weary conclusions. The Aberdeen songstress grimaces 'these are my guns' and despite her lesbian icon status I don't think Annie is the weightlifting type. Her voice could bleach the air such is the narcassictis numbness styfled into hardened regret.

Crazy for cock? Sarcastic I Need A Man went over the heads of many (probably) male critics who dismissed the anthem as 'desperate', further fueling the song's irony. The blood-boiling middle-8 hits home with more than a clenched fist. 'Hey you want me to sing now - is this my turn? Okay - wooooaaaaaaaaaahhhw!' has been paid tribute to by none other than Dana International. A million drag acts just found their big entrance.

Migrating from Mick Jagger's groin to blood-soaked tampax disco, the taut treacle-funk Put The Blame On Me blushes in distress. An uber feminine camp fetale pleads with the willfully flimsy 'why did you close your eyes when I'm the one who's blind?' proving that lyrically it's an aesthetic completely justified. Fflirtatious ebullience.

The rich and lustrous Heaven pleads euphoria. Think Dannii Minogue's Girl meets Donna Summer with some of Kylie's GBI thrown in for seasoning. Sampled by the legendary Curve on their own disco fix of I Feel Love.

Annie's neat Elvis trick is quiffed up again on Wide Eyed Girl, immersing her rythmic strategy into an arena-ready James Brown snare, rousing hers testosterone levels to match the big bad beat.

Deadpan violence vaccuum I Need You: 'some of them want to abuse you, some of them want to be abused' but who is wanting what remains debatable. Starting like some sort of Roxette demo, the cynical arrangement vaporizes her bruises into 'ecastasy' whether it is faked or not. Uncannily evocative.

The near-acapella Brand New Day is candidly perfectionist for the sake of it. When the near-psychedelic chandelier intrumentation catches up to the beats it is a happy, kind relief.

Fanatical and undaunted, Annie dissects domesticity the way Madonna once claimed to dissect sex. Both shared an inexhaustible pleasure during the 80s for exploring their themes, but Savage 23 years on is still a hot fresh masterpeice - to deny it is to be deaf or just lying.


Mike said...

Why isn't this blog bigger than Pop Justice? I love every post!

Diva Incarnate said...

Oh popjustice... if only the Pop Trash Addicts boards were still up.

QH said...

I always say their best work, the Eurythmics, when they were unstoppable was between '83-'88. Once they got that pesky, obvious New Romantic/New Wave overrated "Sweets Dreams (Are Made of This Album)" out of the way, they really got down to business.

I think "Revenge" really takes the cake for me as my forever favorite Eurythmics recording, it has the rock edge, but with some of the pop & R&B fetishism that made "Be Yourself Tonight" a near masterpiece.

But "Savage" really is a unique presence, a return to their my synth driven, or electronic work overtly, but at the same time an indulgence that is rewarding years after purchase. I copped the original pressing and then, several months after that purchase, the remastered version back in '05. I enjoy it so much now. It was ahead of its time, and commercially didn't do anything Stateside, they were kind of ditched here sadly. But, in the U.K. the record found a home.

If you take into consideration that this was also, I believe, the first "video album" (done by the great Sophie Muller), "Savage" is a record that soars without most people knowing it. By the way, your into to this was stunning.-Quentin

Diva Incarnate said...

I think we can begin to detect Annie's exhaustion: from fame, touring and probably Dave too. Dave deserves all the credit in the world for the production, but Annie is still sharp even when showing her softer side.

I read this back a bit and it's very apparent to me that I no longer have the time to spend all day writing about an album (as enjoyable as it can be).

I'm not actually that familiar with the Revenge album, but can remember well that it's very solid. I guess the critics aren't so kind to 'MOR' rock - personally I love anything that falls under 'adult contemporary'. When Tomorrow Comes is the perfect drive-time song.

It's such a shame Annie isn't so nearly disciplined or excited by making music as she clearly was at times in the 80s. Her presence in music videos was often far more striking than Madonna.

QH said...

Well, that's what I can say about Grace Jones & Annie, they just had presence. And it was so obviously real. Not canned. That said, my love of Madonna comes from her forward thinking and how it manifests in her art, and that she can sell it well usually. On the flipside, I like Kylie for her not being as confrontational, but not ceding quality due to her being a pop act.

Forgive my typos earlier, I'm at work when I read your stuff to keep me sane, lol. I type too fast sometimes, lol.-Quentin

P.S.-If I'm correct,you aren't a GaGa fan, I can't stand her, she's such a phony. And her music is dire.

Diva Incarnate said...

I reviewed The Fame Monster quite favourably if I remember correct, but she's a total phony - she reminds me of a character from the film Party Monster (played by the girl who had the main character in another film called But, I'm A Cheerleader). I do like some of the songs a lot, but can usually think of better examples (and for example, Dead or Alive's Nukleopatra is a much better campaign of the same anguish and vitriol set to rave sounds as Bad Romance, although Pete seems to quite like her - probably wanting a collaboration to pay for some new procedures no doubt).

Her fans do not come across well at all, and she encourages them to be how they are. The re-branding of outsiders (mainly gays) as tortured and freaks is quite interesting in itself. She grew up rich, so the starved New York artist romanticizing is also plain ridiculous.

QH said...

I always said she was like Pete Burns, without any of the edge or charisma he had during their peak (i.e.-"Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know," "Nude").-Quentin.

Diva Incarnate said...

She channels a lot of artists that I like (Madonna, Depeche Mode, Nina Hagen, etc), it's the persona and awful lyrics that badly let her down.