Monday, July 6, 2015

Laura Branigan - Hold Me

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Hold Me, the fourth studio album from Laura Branigan. This 1985 record hit number 75 in Japan, number 71 on the US Billboard Album chart (with a fifteen week total time on the chart), number 64 in the UK, number 43 in Canada, number31 in Germany, number 12 in Norway, number 10 in Switzerland, and number 7 in Sweden.

Side one opens with the mid-tempo title dance track. "Hold Me", the second single, held at number 82 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 39 on the US Billboard Dance chart. It does feature the cool saxophone sounds of Gary Herbig.

"Maybe Tonight" was released as the third single, though it failed to chart. This one has a strong up-tempo beat to it; I am rather surprised it didn’t do well on any of the charts.

The gentle swaying "Foolish Lullaby" is next. The lyrics tell the tragic tell of a love triangle between a man and two women.

The first single from the album was "Spanish Eddie". It climbed to number 87 in the UK, number 73 in France, number 40 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 36 in Germany, number 34 in Canada, number 29 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, number 26 on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 24 in Australia, number 8 in Austria and number 6 in South Africa. I remember this one, particularly from Branigan’s performances of it on shows like Solid Gold as well as out at the dance clubs I frequented in college.

Branigan covered "Forever Young", the title track from Alphaville's 1984 debut album. I like how her lovely voice carries this one, easily hitting the key of the original and keeping it a crisp, clean delivery. Her version proved very popular and was often used as a closing number by Branigan when she performed live on tour.

Side two begins with "When I'm With You", a mid-tempo synth-pop number. The underlying rhythm of the verses reminds me a bit of Murray Head’s “One Night in Bangkok”. Harold Faltermeyer co-wrote the track with the album’s producers Jack White and Mark Spiro; Faltermeyer also played synthesizers on the track.

The fourth single "I Found Someone", co-written by Michael Bolton and Mark Mangold, stalled at number 90 on the US Billboard Hot 100 yet reached number 25 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Three years later, Cher had a bit more success with the song. I like Branigan’s controlled delivery here; it gives the song a strong, intimate connection.

"Sanctuary" is up next. It features a very steady, very prominent back-beat.

"Tenderness", the B-side to the first and second singles, kicks it up a notch. Branigan co-wrote the track with White and Spiro. I like the backing horns, and one of the guitar riffs on the verses reminds me a little bit of one on Tina Turner’s “Show Some Respect”.

The album closes with "When the Heat Hits the Streets", another up-tempo tune that was made for dancing to.

A number of years back when I was compiling my digital collection, I was purchasing a number of Laura Branigan’s albums from emusic. Hold Me, however, was one of those that was not available. A little research shows it can still be gotten on vinyl and CD from eBay, though the latter tends to command a rather hefty price. Perhaps someday this one will get re-mastered and re-released. In the meantime, if you want to hear these tracks like I did, YouTube can assist you as it did me.

For more from Laura Branigan, click here.

1 comment:

mark1814 said...

My Favourite Laura album. I never understood why it wasn't more successful.