Monday, April 21, 2014

Bananarama - Bananarama

Today (April 21st) marks the thirtieth anniversary Bananarama, the self-titled second studio album from the British pop trio of Sarah Dallin, Keren Woodward and Siobhan Fahley. It charted at number 99 in Australia, number 45 in Germany, number 16 in the UK and number 9 in Switzerland. Here in the US, it spent thirty-six weeks on the Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 30.

Side one begins with "Cruel Summer". As the first single, it went to number 48 in the Netherlands, number 44 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, number 40 in Belgium, number 33 in Canada, number 32 in New Zealand, number 24 in Germany, number 11 on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 8 in the UK, number 7 in Ireland, number 5 in France and number 3 in South Africa. The song focuses on the negative sides of summer: heat, humidity and general discomfort. Of course, none of us cared about the negatives as the song was a great one to dance to.

The third single "Rough Justice" charted at number 23 in the UK and number 16 in the Netherlands. Backed by a great pop rhythm, the lyrics focused on issues facing children like poverty and starvation, and how society was turning a blind eye to the situation.

"King of the Jungle" was released as a single in Japan only. The lyrics talk about someone who sells guns to others with little regard to what they are using them for.

"Dream Baby" has an old-fashioned jazz like rhythm to it which I find very cool.

"Link" closes out the first side of the album.

Side two starts with "The Wild Life", a song the group recorded for the soundtrack of the 1984 movie The Wild Life which starred Christopher Penn, Eric Stoltz and Lea Thompson. The single for this song charted at number 70 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Oddly enough, I do not recall either this song or the movie though.

The original vinyl release started side two with the seven minute version of the mid-tempo "Hot Line to Heaven". Later album releases used the single edit, which charted at number 58 in the UK, instead so they could fit the previous track on to side two.

Backed by a bouncy beat, "State I'm In" reflects on a couple that fallen out of love.

"Robert De Niro's Waiting", the second single, reached number 95 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 40 in Australia, number 22 in the Netherlands, number 8 in Switzerland and number 3 in the UK. The song tells of a young woman's escapist fantasies about a major film star.

"Through a Child's Eyes" closes out the record on a solemn note, with lyrics that reflect upon innocence lost.

Seeing as I was such a fan of their debut album Deep Sea Skiving (click here for that review), I do not recall why I never picked this one up too. I was certainly familiar with the first two singles from radio airplay and MTV video rotation. I guess I just never ran across the album in my record store visits. Despite that, this first listen to the full Bananarama album (thank you, YouTube) shows the group was continuing to grow and mature their sound. This is one I would consider picking up if it ever makes it to the digital download markets (the import CD is way too expensive).

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