I Touch Roses: The Best Of Book Of Love

Book Of Love

Reprise Records, 2001


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


For years, I had always lumped in NYC’s Book Of Love with all the New Wave dance trash of the ‘80s that I had always despised. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a huge dance fan but every once in a while there’s a song that will catch me. But I never paid attention to Book Of Love because they always seemed so pretentious and self-serving. Doing covers of “Tubular Bells” and things like that that always rubbed me the wrong way. Somewhere along the way, I heard a remix of a song called “Candy Carol (Sugar Lips Carolling)” and I was blown away; it’s so breezy and wonderful. Then about a year or so ago, I picked up a CD in a bargain bin and heard “Trouble In A Bubble,” another song that was fantastic and great. So I picked up this first official greatest hits set and gave it a whirl.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“I Touch Roses” is just okay. It’s catchy but it doesn’t last. “Boy,” from the group’s debut album, is amazingly catchy and great and is like a lost earworm. It’s a song you’d never heard before but one that gets instantly stuck in your head. Some songs sound amazing, but others still sound stuck in the ‘80s and don’t really transfer, like “Lost in Your Eyes,” which comes across like middling MTV New Wave and that’s about it. “Hunny Hunny” is very bland and seems like its only place is on dancefloor after 1 am, which isn’t my idea of a good time.

“Getting Faster” is one of three new songs the band recorded after a seven year layoff, and while it picks up some of its ideas from what was then trending in the clubs, it doesn’t sound very great and becomes kind of grating after a while. “Try,” another new track, has a more modern feel to it and isn’t that bad of a song; it’s actually more memorable than some of their mid ‘90s work. “You Make Me Feel So Good” sounds like classic New Wave and is still a great underrated gem all these years later.

Ultimately, this is a middling collection of dance tunes with some real gems included. I still don’t understand why Book Of Love got all this fascination and applause from people, but whatever. I’ll still take Depeche Mode any day over all of Book Of Love’s catalogue. [Note to Sire/Rhino Records: Now that there are three collections devoted to Book Of Love, how about you guys some show love for the Judybats and Ocean Blue?]

Rating: C

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