Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Alison Moyet - Alf

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Alf, the solo debut album from Alison Moyet. It was her first release after leaving the UK synthpop group Yazoo/Yaz. The record went to number 12 in Canada, number 11 in Sweden, number 5 in Germany, number 3 in the Netherlands and Norway, number 2 in Switzerland, and number 1 in New Zealand and the UK. Here in the US, it spent twenty-five weeks on the Billboard Album chart and peaked at number 45.

Joining her on the record are producer Tony Swain on keyboards, Tim Goldsmith on drums, and Steve Jolley on backing vocals.

Side one opens with “Love Resurrection”, a mid-tempo tune about the need to make an intimate, emotional connection. As the lead single, it reached number 82 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 49 on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 39 in Canada, number 26 in the Netherlands, number 18 in New Zealand, number 15 in Belgium, number 10 in the UK, number 8 in Ireland, and number 6 in Italy.

“Honey For the Bees” draws upon the synth sound Moyet found successful with Yaz for this sexual innuendo-laced dance track. I can easily see this one having been a popular track in the clubs back in the mid-80’s.

The haunting “For You Only” brings forth the yearning of a love that is now gone.

“Invisible”, the third single, went to number 31 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 25 in Canada and Switzerland, number 22 in Germany, number 21 in the UK, number 18 in Sweden, number 6 in Ireland and number 4 in New Zealand. Here, Moyet plays the role of a woman who is ignored and cheated upon by her partner, yet she cannot bear to end the relationship. I like how the piano plays off of her powerful vocals.

“Steal Me Blind” has a gospel feel to it, given the beat and rhythm plus the backing chorus.

Side two begins with “All Cried Out”. As the second single, it charted at number 57 in France, number 24 in Germany, number 16 in Italy, number 15 in the Netherlands and Switzerland, number 8 in the UK, number 7 in Ireland and South Africa and number 6 in New Zealand. The album cut clocks in at almost close to seven minutes, leaving plenty of room for some multi-layered instrumental elements. Here, a guy returns after moving on only to find his girl-friend has not waited for him.

“Money Mile” makes use of a quick clipped piano/percussion line with Moyet matching it with her own vocal delivery. It makes for a quite memorable effect.

“Twisting the Knife” keeps up the energy level with a very danceable track.

The album closes with the evocative “Where Hides Sleep”. After a moving opening, it shifts into a gentle swaying rhythm.

Being a huge Yaz fan, I of course found myself drawn to Alison Moyet’s Alf as well. Here she really embraces the blue-eyed soul pop sound which is perfect for her deep, resonating voice.

For more Alison Moyet, click here.

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