SPANDAU BALLET - 1981 - 1989 (THE COMPLETE 6 ALBUM COLLECTION)






"JOURNEYS TO GLORY"

1981


TO CUT A LONG STORY SHORT
- The opening track and debut single was the epitomy of the New Romantic Pop phenomenon that took over the first couple of years in the 80s.  The Synth New Wave sound, medieval like percussion and Tony Hadley's big booming vocal are just fantastic.


REFORMATION
- An almost repetitive, rhyming lyric over a typically 80s Electronic Synth Pop backing.  Again there is a dark, almost eerie medieval sound running through the track.  Catchy in a strange way, but great track.

MANDOLIN - A little more anthemic and bigger sound to the previous tracks and with a funky bassline that hits the mark.  A mix of Ultravox pomp and Soft Cell vocals.  Not a single but I love this track.

MUSCLEBOUND
- A New Wave track, a slow tempo backing track with Tony giving it his all to lifet it to new heights, then the annoyingly catchy chanted chorus kicks in and you can't help but sing along.

AGE OF BLOWS
- The equivalent of an 80s band jam with elements of Rock, Pop, Electronica, New Wave.  Engaging enough but not one of my favourites from the band.

THE FREEZE - Great New Wave Pop Rock, Gary Numan style with a little Bowie thrown in.


CONFUSED
- Has a backing of the Synth version of Big Country's big "bagpipe" guitars.  This is a usual 80s Pop track.  Again it lacks something to get me excited about it.

TOYS - Almost Progressive Rock, New Romantic style.  A little 70s and 80s Rock elements and its dark, moody backing really work.  A 6 minute epic track that is one of my favourites. 


 "DIAMOND"

1982


CHANT NO 1 (I DON'T NEED THIS PRESSURE ON) - The band's second album opens with the first single released from it.  It reached number 3 in the UK chart and although keeping with the Medieval sound of the debut album this track is New Wave funky Disco! Add the catchy chorus to this sublime 80s track and its a gem.


INSTINCTION - One of my favourite Spandau tracks, although a little repetitive it is anthemic funky New Wave Pop at its best.  Tony Hadley's booming vocal gives it an extra lift as usual. Released as the fourth single reaching number 10 in the UK.

PAINT ME DOWN - This is a repetition that I don't hink caught on as musch as other 80s tracks.  It isn't one of my favourites but its chorus can be annoyingly stuck in your head.  A New Wave "filler" although strangley released as a single.  It only reached number 30 in the chart and surprisingly was released before "She Loved Like Diamond", a far superior song.

COFFEE CLUB - Mostly instrumental track that has a movie soundtrack feel to it.  Lots going on and its a decent listen.  Unusual Disco Funk.

SHE LOVED LIKE DIAMOND - Criminally reaching number 49 on the UK singles chart, I love this song.  Tony gives a passionate, emotive vocal and the melody is really nice.  It has a strange summery Medieval feel but is instantly memorable as a New Wave ballad of the time.


PHAROAH - Another instrumental coming in at over 6 and half minutes long.  I think this was a chance for the band to have an experimental jam.  It is a nice listen with the odd chanted lyrics but not really a "grab your attention" song,  more easy going listen in the background.

INNOCENCE AND SCIENCE - Another instrumental, this time with an Eastern feel to the sound.  I think maybe this is why this album isn't considered a favourite among fans.  The overlong instrumental indulgence was not where the foundations of Spandau Ballet's legacy will be.  A little bland.

MISSIONARY - Sadly the album ends with this overlong, over 7 minutes kind of Gothic and Progressive Rock hybrud which doesn't match up to the usual sound and quality we already expected in the short time Spandau were around.  The fact is that the overlong indulgences scrub out the classic tracks, which is a shame.



"TRUE"

1983


PLEASURE - Opener for the album and set the classy stylish tone for this record.  A real snappy chorus and matches perfectly with the singles released from this set. Bright, breezy, big vocals from Tony Hadley and pure New Wave Soul.

COMMUNICATION This track became an unusual Club Disco classic.  I remember the 12" being awesome as well.  Great vocal harmonies, minimal musical backing with a memorable sing-a-long chorus.  One of my favourites.
 
 

CODE OF LOVE - Would be a great James Bond theme, slow and mysterious with fabulous vocals from Tony.

GOLD - Everyone knows this song from adverts, parties and pretty much everywhere.  Chugging drums, powerful range of vocals and a great Saxophone solo make this a classic and much covered by many artists.
 
LIFELINE - A more summery Pop track than other tracks on this album but a great song nonetheless.  All the usual Spandau traits are here from this era.

HEAVEN IS A SECRET -  Great song, complete with memorable chorus and clever harmonies, one of my favourites from the band. Has a slight Motown feel as well.

FOUNDATION - Upbeat with a pounding drumbeat with an easy singalong chorus and Tony exercising his vocal range to the max, would have been a great Summer hit single I think.

TRUE - The title track and one of the best 80s ballads.  Just smooth, soulful and memorable.  A number 1 and rightly so, made Tony a very unique singer and difficult to copy with his big, pure and effortless vocal, although many artists have covered this track too.  Very emotional and set Spandau as one of THE acts of the decade.
 
 


 "PARADE"

1984

ONLY WHEN YOU LEAVE - The first single from the album and reaching number 3 in the UK chart making it their 8th Top Ten single.  At the peak of their powers after the global success of "True" this was a slick, smooth piece of New Wave Soul.  Tony Hadley's voice again carries the song to new heights. Catchy chorus and one of my favourite Spandau tracks, beautifully crafted and a class song.

 

HIGHLY STRUNG - More rocky than previous tracks with the prominent guitars, also has a hint of Funk.  New Wave Pop and again an irresistible chorus that you can't help but sing along to.  Another classic Spandau track.  Only reached number 15 on the UK chart as the album's third single.

I'LL FLY FOR YOU - Possibly my favourite Spandau track.  Love the saxophone on this, akin to "True" in powerful emotion.  I just like the feel of this track, its light, emotive and pure.  Tony holds back a bit  here but its really nice and then kicks it up a notch on the big chorus.  The second single in the UK reaching number 9.  Brilliant song, New Wave Pop at its best.

 

NATURE OF THE BEAST - Unfortunately every Spandau album throws in a duff track and this is it this time.  An unremarkable Pop track that fails to deliver for me.

REVENGE FOR LOVE - Melodious Pop Soul with a little Funk.  Not as good as the first three tracks and only a touch better than "Nature Of The Beast".  Only a good chorus saves this one.

ALWAYS IN THE BACK OF MY MIND - A mid tempo, light Pop Rock track with a hint of Folk and Blues elements in the keyboards.  Great saxophone again by  Steve Norman.  Lyrically not the best but a good song.

WITH THE PRIDE - One of the stand out non-singles on the album along with the final track.  One of my favourite tracks by the band.  Could have been a single I think.  An easy song to sing along to with a great mix of keyboards, drums, guitar and saxophone.  Both of these final two tracks eliminate the disappointment of the previous two and end the album on a high.  This is a great track.

ROUND AND ROUND - One of my all time favourite tracks by Spandau Ballet.  It is beautifully sung by Tony giving us full on emotion.  It is sad and uplifting in equal amounts.  Pop Soul in full effect. Fabulous track with a great chorus and lyrically on a par with the 80s classics.  Love this, except for a couple of tracks this is a worthwhile successor to "True".

 


"THROUGH THE BARRICADES"
 
1986
 

 

BARRICADES (Introduction) - An atmospheric melancholic opening to the band's fifth album, just over a minute of effects combined with the instrumental parts of the title track. 

CROSS THE LINE - A more rockier mature sound for this album as heard on this track.  Great guitars and sax interspersed with a great chorus as is the Spandau standard.  Great track.

MAN IN CHAINS - A little too repetitive for me, although the music is a great New Wave Pop Rock sound the lyrical value isnt as good as other Spandau efforts.  Not one of my favourites.

HOW MANY LIES? - The third single to be lifted from this album only reached number 34 in the chart, their second worst performing single since "She Loved Like Diamond" reached 49 in 1982.  I actually liked this track, its a powerful Rock Pop ballad that singer Tony Hadley performs with aplomb as usual.  

VIRGIN - Sadly this song fails to hit the mark both lyrically and musically.  There isn't much remarkable about it, the backing vocal choir is nice, Tony's vocals are powerful but the song itself fails to deliver.

FIGHT FOR OURSELVES - The first single from the album is a sing-a-long chorus affair which reached number 15 in the UK chart.  Unlike "Man In Chains" this chorus is memorable and the track itself is classic Spandau Ballet.  I remember this one grew on me at the time as it was a big rockier shift from the last album, "Parade" which I loved. 


SWEPT - Another track I usually skip when listening to this album, quite unremarkable. It meanders along with Tony trying his best to lift a dull track but ultimately its a dead end.

SNAKES AND LOVERS - Like the previous track this lets the album down a bit, some great tracks here but this one fails miserably.  No catchy chorus, the pace picks up a bit after 3 minutes and it sounds better but its too late to save the song, I'm afraid.

THROUGH THE BARRICADES - Absolutely love this song, it is emotionally powerful and beautifully crafted and sung.  Probably my favourite Spandau track ahead of the more famous "True" and "Gold".  The single was the second lifted from this set and reached number 6 in the UK chart.  Ironically this was to be their last Top Ten single despite another album to come.  Very classy melancholic ballad


 


"HEART LIKE A SKY"

1989 


BE FREE WITH YOUR LOVE - The band's sixth album opens with this classic Spandau flavoured tune.  A cool, summery, breezy ballad with a punchy chorus.  Some great Latin style percussion in this one too.  Sadly the demise in popularity was beginning as this second single from the album only reached number 42 in the UK chart which I though was a bit harsh.
 
 


CRASHED INTO LOVE - Although a nice enough song this one fails to live up to the high expectations following the famous ballads of Spandau Ballet.  It just lacks that killer hit.  The worst ever performing single on the UK chart peaking at a dreadful number 96. 

BIG FEELING - Neither big lyrically or musically and the funky style guitars accompaniment fails to lift this to the heights we expect.  Sadly another meandering miss for me.

A MATTER OF TIME - The rot seems to have set in after the brilliant opening track, this is another mediocre attempt at a cool, emotive ballad.  Its not surprising that this album has fared worse in polls than any other previous Spandau set.

MOTIVATOR - This track lifts up the gloom somewhat with a Wet Wet Wet/Curiosity Killed The Cat funkylate 80s Pop.  The chorus is big and and the beat effective.  A step forward on this album.

RAW - The first single to be released from this set reaching only number 47 in the UK chart.  A funky, cool and sassy track that is probably the second best song on this album after the opener.  Back to their best here.


EMPTY SPACES - The thrid single from the album and Spandau Ballet's second worst performing single in the UK reaching an abysmal number 94.  Its tough to compare the ballads on this album with some of the great ones such as "Through The Barricades" and "True" but this one holds up as a good one.  Singer Tony Hadley gives a powerful vocal and its emotion is there no doubt.

WINDY TOWN - A whimsical little number but again lacks the decisive touch.  Its not a bad song by any means and its better than some on this album but its got a lot of great tunes to live up to.  This ends up sounding like a boyband track.

A HANDFUL OF DUST - The album finishes on a little high with this Pop Rock sounding track with big vocals and some rocky guitar.  This hasnt been a good album and no surprises that the band split after it but it had a handful of good points...no pun intended.





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

MADONNA - 1983 - 2003 (9 ALBUMS)

PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION - 1984 - 1986 (THE COMPLETE 3 ALBUM COLLECTION)

ARCADIA - 1985 (THE COMPLETE 1 ALBUM COLLECTION)