Today’s POP RESCUE from an uncertain future, is the 1983 second album Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by duo Eurythmics. Is this album all sweetness, or is it better to keep it as a Stranger? Read on…
This 10 track LP opens with third single Love Is A Stranger. This song has some wonderful synths that gurgle, swirl, and bleep away throughout as Annie Lennox sings some pretty high-pitched vocals on top. The end result is quite a nice little pop song. The song gave them their first top ten hit in 1982, reaching #6 in the UK.
Percussion and breathy sounds usher in next song I’ve Got An Angel. Annie has plenty of space here to show off her high vocals again, and this is set alongside some more deeper robotic vocals from her, that remind me somewhat of the more recent Roisin Murphy work. Musically, the song kind of wanders around in the background before coming to a sudden dead halt.
Tom-toms and a bouncy synth lead Wrap It Up. Annie is joined here by vocalist Green Gartside from Scritti Politti for this cover of the 1968 Sam and Dave hit. There’s a great bit of snare drum in this track, but the rest of the song is highly 80s stylised and therefore sounds very dated. It’s the weakest song here so far.
Some wonderful beats and bass drums open next track I Could Give You (A Mirror). Annie gets plenty of opportunities to show off her voice again, including the backing vocals. The song switches from being an electro synth song to being a bit heavier towards the end with many layers of vocals before its sudden end.
A sinister howling gale blows as The Walk begins. The bass and beats are simple here, set alongside Annie’s soft vocals in the verse. The tone lifts in the chorus, almost sounding a little bit 60s Motown in the chorus with some well placed brass. The tone slumps back down to its former brooding self, fitting the lyrics perfectly. An odd choice for a single, but then it failed to chart in the UK.
Side Two opens with huge hit and title track Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). It’s throbbing beat, delicious synth line, set alongside the two vocal styles of Annie Lennox, makes this a tremendous piece of 80s music. Flawless. This was the fourth and final single from the album, but undoubtedly the one that made them a household name, reaching #2 in the UK in 1983.
The sound of crashing waves are soon joined by a heavy bass drum and another wonderful synth pulsating over the top. This is Jennifer, and it’s a haunting little track, giving Annie a place for softer, haunting vocals. It seems Jennifer is dead in the sea. At times it feels like it belongs on the Twin Peaks soundtrack alongside Julee Cruise’s hit Falling.
Synths beep as Annie sings in Spanish at the start of lead single, This Is The House. The tempo is back up, and there’s plenty of brass too – helping to make the song more uplifting in contrast to the last song. Bass guitar sits comfortably alongside these bleeping synths and drums, helping to weave it all together and create quite a catchy little song, even though it doesn’t really seem to be about anything much. The song failed to chart in the UK.
This is followed by the hard beat of penultimate track Somebody Told Me. Again, synths carry a bass tone, although they’re heavily affected. Annie gets plenty of space to show off her vocal range again, and I think that even David A Stewart gets to put his backing vocals in this one. There’s a nice robotic ‘oh well, oh well, oh well‘ section towards the end.
Final track The City Never Sleeps slinks in with a chilled beat and bass. Annie’s vocals are gentle and warm here. Underground trains come and go throughout this song, helping to add weight to the lyrics. Over all, this is quite a chilled out song, aided by the soft vocals and foley.
Where are Eurythmics now?
Having struggled to chart, the success of this album will have come as a welcome relief. The duo have continued to achieve top 10 studio albums (most in the top 5). They swiftly followed this album with Touch, which was released 10 months later, and hit the #1 UK album spot. It was supported by a number of hit singles.
The duo wouldn’t reach #1 in the UK singles chart until 1985’s There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart), and they haven’t reached it since.
They re-united in 1999 for album Peace, which again gave them a huge hit. They have reunited occasionally since, but the Eurythmics remain in a foreseeable hiatus.
POP RESCUE RATING
Over all, this album shows off some of some fantastic early 80’s sounds – a testament to Annie and Dave as pioneers of commercial 80’s electronic music.
Whilst there’s a couple of weaker songs here (This Is The House and Wrap It Up), it is a great journey through electro pop and chilled out sounds. That great big hit on side two is in good company here.
- POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 4 / 5
- UK CHART POSITION: #3, certified Platinum.
- POP RESCUE COST: £2.00 from Hunts Antiques in Huntingdon.