Monday, February 04, 2008

Music Box: Bananarama

So re-buying the Pretenders' first four albums -- remastered and expanded -- wasn't enough fun for me. (Ditto for Blondie and Culture Club.) This week I got the first six Bananarama albums, gloriously reissued and expanded by music-loving Rhino Records in 24-bit mastering with the complete catalog of the girls' b-sides and non-album tracks from over the years, along with remixes and single versions, sprinkled on the respective albums. Imported yet still only $10.99 each, this is the kind of CD I can feel happy (re)buying. It gives the artists new income (well, hopefully) and makes me smile. If Dolly Mixture had ever caught on they may well have been Britain's most successful group ever. But that honor was saved for Banana Girls Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward and Siobhan Fahey, and I don't think my childhood would have been half as much fun without them.

  • "Deep Sea Skiving": includes the singles "Shy Boy," "Really Saying Something" and "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)"; "He's Got Tact" and "No Feelings" were brilliant additions
  • "Bananarama": includes the singles "Cruel Summer" and "Robert de Niro's Waiting"; "The Wild Life" (from the Cameron Crowe film) makes it all worthwhile
  • "True Confessions"" includes the worldwide No. 1 single "Venus" and the should-have-been hit "More Than Physical" (including the superior single mix); "Riskin' a Romance" from the Michael J. Fox vehicle "The Secret of My Success" was a great addition, as is "White Train"

  • "Wow": the last album to feature Siobhan Fahey, includes the singles "I Heard a Rumor," "Love in the First Degree" and "I Want You Back"; ushers in the Jacquie O. era with re-recorded versions of "Nathan Jones" and "I Want You Back" with Jacquie's vocals in for Siobhan's
  • "Pop Life": the one and turns out only album to feature Jacquie O'Sullivan (ex-Shillelagh Sisters) as a member of the group, includes the singles "Preacher Man," "Only Your Love" and the cover of the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running"; the alternative take of "Ain't No Cure" is a real treat
  • "Please Yourself": The group became a duo on its sixth and final release for London Records, which includes the singles "Movin' On," "Last Thing on My Mind" and the cover of "More, More, More"; b-side "Another Lover" was as good as any of the LP's tracks

    Since these six albums came out between 1983-1992, Bananarama (as a duo) have released three more albums: 1995's dance-friendly "Ultra Violet"; 2001's borderline-disastrous French-only "Exotica"; and 2005's return to form, "Drama." During the same time founding member Siobhan Fahey has gone on to do considerably more interesting things, first as the leader of Shakespear's Sister ("You're History," "Heroine," "Goodbye Cruel World," "My 16th Apology" and the worldwide No. 1 "Stay"). More recently she's been a prolific songwriter and artist, usually making her solo material available only on her Web site, Without the constraints of record executives and labels, she's tapped into a dark, glam-inspired side that is like nothing else out there these days. Occasionally, she lends her voice to slightly more mainstream projects, like Agent Provocateur (aka Erreur Fatale)'s cover of "She's Lost Control" (the old Joy Division song). Siobhan -- gorgeous as ever and sounding great -- and Dita van Teese starred in the video that pokes fun at the Bush White House (below):


    nojarama said...

    I completely agree with you 100%. A very good re-investment for any Na-Na fan. Hope Shuv gets some new stuff out again soon!

    Anonymous said...

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for this written piece of Bananarama!!! Going to search for these...
    So many great songs, my favourite of all is "Cruel Summer". One of the many gems of infectiously delicious masterpieces of pop in the purest form!!!

    p/s:and still sounded very current!
    Water-colored memories...

    Anonymous said...

    I live for Bananarama....!!!!! If it were not for them I would not have gotten through high school... I love them and wanted to be them and marilyn.... I am going to go and get these asap love it!