Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Kim Wilde - Love Is (1992)

The artistic migration of Kim Wilde from Debbie Harry variant to glossy wind-machine pop goddess suffered somewhat with 1990s Love Moves relative sales failure, but the singer enjoyed something of a minor commercial rebirth with her 8th album Love Is in 1992. Kim’s pop professionalism fuses real pop sounds onto her stock and trade electronic open fire numbers. Buying herself a hit single, the album is more than mere money-music and the L.A Confidential before L.A Confidential imagery proved just what a bombshell she really was.

Smart enough to realise she needed a hit, Rick Nowels investment Love Is Holy saw the singer damage the UK top 15 for the first time in 5 years. Now posing as Belinda Carlisle, Kim is a lover not a fighter, don’t forget it. The chorus is nonsensical feminine-not-female weakness but a tune-burst nonetheless.

A mite fresher with ideas, the chugging scrutiny of Who Do You Think You Are is another mirror-gazing 1-on-1 session between Kim and Kim only. Possessing a self-aware flair for sounding like Madonna’s Jimmy Jimmy is much yummier than I am making it sound.

Needing to grab a clue, Touched By Your Magic cops a feel with sun-kissed guitar strumming that warms her up to sing about ‘waiting so long’ and scenarios without touching stuff being ‘more than I could bare’. Enough nutrients make it a healthy choice for those inclined that way.

Escaping like light, the razor sharp surfaces of I Believe In You speed through with the same killer instinct I expect from a classic Kim head-jerk electro off-the-leash stomper. Punching just as hard as a Roxette lead single, Kim’s cut-glass vocals clasp together the fast-paced sounds like a lump in the throat. This would have been my choice for second single – like I always say, the rougher the sensation the better.

Eventually making its point, the wobbly ballad I Won’t Change The Way That I Feel has softer ideas and Kim has an even harder time making me feel anything at all.

A-Ha moment Million Miles Away’s gleaming synths flare up majestically whilst piano keys fall like raindrops, and an antagonising energy urges enough forlorn bitterness for Kim to play around with to warrant granting the track high status on the album. Her reliable composure ensures that her sultry soul-pop warmth brings enough heat during the plaintive verses, and the power-ballad chorus ought to have a Nick Van Eede writing credit.

A flexing guitar line announces The Light of The Moon, a shiny told-you-so appeal for ‘the warmth of the sun’ and similarly predictable alternatives to the words in the title. If she paid her electricity bill she could have those things at the twist of a knob, and on a regular basis.

Crystal clear arrangements and hand claps sneak the next one in. Heart Over Mind is a jangly thank-God-the-crap-stuff-is-behind-us sigh of ruefully grateful relief. A correct choice for a single, thank God.

The sentiment is not my glass of vodka and strawberry juice, but purchasing possibilities proves wise when A Miracle’s Coming pads out the back end of your album with a skyscraper chorus sung by Kim’s pavement scraping vocals.

Theme of the whole album, Try Again defrosts trembling 80s ballad sounds, coaching emotional feelings with the same sweet purity she utilized on those other gentle gems in her back catalogue, Can You Hear It and Someday. When Kim gets distressed about the world’s problems I usually give her the wide berth, but whatever newspaper headline she read that day must have really struck a chord.

Weepy closer Too Late lights the same match twice – flickering arrangements and a vocal that waltzes secure that satisfying final track feeling.

The rampaging pop of I’ve Found A Reason was a shameless exclusion and relegated to B-side status. Psyching herself up with a momentum that would make even Roxette drool in awe, Kim’s gutsy bender is one of her very finest.

The stunning Birthday Song gasps ghostly second-hand air from the witchy pop chanteuse Mylene Farmer herself, and it is as beguiling as it is utterly uncompromised. It really lifts the lid on just what Kim can achieve when forgetting about those top 20s in Scandinavia. Another scab peeled off that Kim should have left exactly where it was, this would have been the album’s epic highlight. Thanks to David M for kindly sending me these bonus tracks.

Forget about Kids In America, the nightshade perfume of her stunning Catch As Catch Can album and even the aerosol-sprayed mist from the chorus of You Came’s timeless ejaculation, Kim is singing more as a woman here and despite flexing her credit card along the way, the songs themselves are full-bodied and rich, with more than enough arresting moments such as Birthday Song, I Believe In You and I’ve Found A Reason all highlighting an intense progression. Relinquishing her habit of chasing after past glories, Love Is simply moves on.

Verdict:

9/10

7 comments:

JP.M said...

It is a pleasure to read your articles in particular about Kim Wilde.
"Love Is" is really an album that I love!
It has been less successful than "close" but I place it in one of my favorites.
Although "Birthday Song" is not included in it but just a B-side is the song that I like most.
And thank you again soon, JPaul

Jerzy said...

Such an enjoyable read again, I love your humorous comments, the part about electricity bills almost had me lying on the floor... laughing that is :P

Anonymous said...

i loved "Love is" Kim didn't look like Debroah Harry (Debby only wishes had those lips), Kim looked more like Marylin Monroe on Love photoshoots,i was happy with 1st single but 2nd single "Heart over mind" couldn't be any dry choice, 100% Million Miles Away or I Believe in You were ment to be 2nd singles, but by the time MCA realised Million M A is a great choice it was toooo late, album was already not in the charts... But Videos for Love is -will stay always Classic KW videos, all watercolors and a bit abstract album will live on forever.
But its time for us to switch to "Lights down low" & "Come out & Play" maybe the best is yet to come :)

undisco_me said...

Thanks JP.M, I agree about Birthday Song - it's so different from her usual stuff. I love that she seems to have one of these surprises for each album.

Jerzy - maybe she had to re-morgage her house to pay for those brilliant Belinda Carlisle cast offs.

Anon - yes, Kim stopped looking like Debbie after her first few albums. I think she has a striking resemblance to Kim Bassinger in LA Confidential, it's uncanny.

I can't wait to review the new album, but I still want to go through her complete discography as there's been so much to uncover. I listen to Lights Down Low all the time.

Jerzy said...

LOL You might be right about the mortgage... I vaguely remeber the dress for Love Is Holy video cost THOUSANDS of pounds and was the most expensive outfit Kim had ever worn... Didn't she look divine in that frock?


Is it only me but I can't see a few pics included in the review...

undisco_me said...

I'll sort out the pics tonight. Believe it or not I've not watched any of the videos yet!

The 1996 album is next on this site - I've already prepared myself for the worst (but can't wait for the trashy remixes!)

Jerzy said...

OMG - ALL the videos from the Love Is era are absolutely divine (When you have watched the Who Do You Think You Are video you will never have any doubts about who the real diva is LOL). Go to Youtube NOW!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3mBOHohw7c&feature=more_related