1984: For The Love Of Big Brother

Eurythmics

RCA, 1984

http://eurythmics.com

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/19/2008

Considering all the songs are performed by the same artist, 1984: For The Love Of Big Brother is more like a concept album than an actual film soundtrack. Still, it does have more music than actual lyrics, and many times, singer Annie Lennox is left to use her voice as nothing more than window dressing for several instrumental pieces (such as “I Did It Just The Same” and “Greetings From A Dead Man”). With such minimum participation by Lennox, it’s a wonder her producer/partner David A. Stewart opted to use her at all on this project. Though the lyrics may be few and far between on this record, Stewart and Lennox were given complete and total freedom in creating a film soundtrack/score of their own design.

The fruits of their labor are best represented by my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 1984’s two singles, “Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)” and “Julia.” I remember when “Sexcrime” was first released and the minor controversy it stirred up in its wake. Back then, it was considered taboo for a song to have the word “sex” in its title, so it was hardly surprising that radio stations refused to play it. It was the first danceable track Eurythmics had released up to that point and it is certainly the fiercest and most extreme in their entire catalog. It may have been dead on arrival when it came to mainstream public opinion, but I love it. As for the overlong, languid ballad “Julia,” it is all about atmosphere and Lennox’s shimmering vocal talents, even if it does prove to be an impenetrable listen that requires tremendous patience on behalf of the listener.

Two other standouts on this album that would make the book’s author George Orwell proud are “For The Love Of Big Brother” and “Doubleplusgood.” The former is a wonderful chill-out number that has some nice Middle-Eastern elements, while the latter is a pulsating anthem set to primitive sounding beats and percussion. Lennox seizes the opportunity to make both tracks her own, also helping to demonstrate her incredible range as a vocalist in the process. She has always had the rare ability to morph into the perfect persona that each song requires. On “For The Love Of Big Brother,” she is purring seductively, while on “Doubleplusgood” she is broadcasting the news in some obscure language, even counting numbers down in a menacing tone of voice at the song’s end.

Eurythmics would try once more to win over the American public with their singular, extreme creative visions with 1987’s Savage. Unfortunately, in the sanitized Reagan era, we weren’t quite ready to deal with anything edgy or experimental, preferring to go about our daily, 9 to 5, suburban, Pleasantville lives safely and quietly. We didn’t want to know what may have been lurking in the dark right around the corner. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. 

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2008 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of RCA, and is used for informational purposes only.