Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the 1987 album Introducing The Hardline According To by Terence Trent D’Arby, but is this an album you’d want to Let Stay in your collection? Read on…
This 11 track album opens with If You All Get To Heaven, which itself starts with a gentle, somewhat muted beat before the drums really kick in with Terence belting out the first lines. Here, he really shows off his vocal range – and it’s the main focus of this song with the simple instruments seemingly keeping out of his way. At times the melody feels like it’s repeating some of hit Sign Your Name.
A piano slide opens lead single If You Let Me Stay, which I instantly recognise but never knew it was him singing it. This is a really up-beat song, musically sounding in a 80s-do-the-60s despite it being an original song. This is really catchy, and once again Terence’s vocals soar perfectly throughout. Brilliant. This track gave him a #7 UK hit.
Wishing Well follows this, and this song has a wonderful beat throughout. Terence’s vocals are strong and soulful here. Musically, it’s quite a simple song, with some wonderful 80s Obligatory Saxophone thrown in alongside a funky bassline. This was the second single from the album, giving him a #4 UK hit.
I’ll Never Turn My Back On You (Father’s Words) follows this. This feels like a much more 80s pop-rock track – it’s certainly heavier. At times Terence’s vocals sound like Michael Jackson – particularly in the mid-section. This isn’t a particularly memorable song.
A snare drum rings in the arrival of Dance Little Sister with the amusing delivery of lyrics ‘get up outta your rockin’ chair grandma! Or rather would you care to dance grandmother?‘. With the delivery of the first part of that lyric, you’d be right in thinking that this is going to be a funky James Brown-sounding track. Terence makes light work of the lyrics, and delivers it in a fast funky James Brown style. A great nostalgic feeling track. The song gave him a #20 UK hit when it was released as the 3rd single.
Side one closes with Seven More Days. This is has some wonderful piano, guitar riffs and backing vocals. It’s laden with build ups made from Terence’s flawless high notes, and brooding backing vocals over a chugging bass – giving it a somewhat menacing, and epic scaled sound.
Side Two aptly opens with Let’s Go Forward, which by contrast is quite a gentle song, with lots of keyboards and repeated vocals ‘let’s go forward with our love‘. Ironically the song doesn’t really feel like it goes anywhere.
The pace picks up for Rain, which has a great beat that feels like it’s tugging on the leash of this song but the simplistic lyrics, vocals and keyboards feel like it holds it back. This was the 5th and final single, but it did not chart in the UK.
Huge #1 UK hit Sign Your Name is up next. I remember this song well, and also had it on my Brit Awards 88 double cassette. The song is soft, gentle with its minimal percussive beats and Terence’s vocals are wonderfully rich and warm here. The bass is simple but perfectly meandering. The ‘shoo do wop wop‘ section that would probably fall down in any other post-50s original song, stand here without fault. Flawless.
As Yet Untitled (c’mon Terence, it’s been 28yrs!) follows next. This song is a capella, with TTD taking all vocal parts himself. He really shines here with lead vocals that explore a huge range of notes and styles, and he puts in some lovely harmonies. The lack of beats does give the illusion that it’s a really long song.
The album closes with Who’s Loving You, a cover of Smokey Robinson‘s 1960 hit (although The Jackson 5 are probably better known for it). Terence certainly sounds like he’s having a fun time recording this song, playing with the lyrics somewhat as his backing vocalists and saxophone duel with him. He soars through a range of notes effortlessly, giving this album a wonderful soulful ending.
Where is Terence Trent D’Arby now?
Terence Trent D’Arby found great success with this album, with 9 weeks as the UK’s #1 album. He went on to win Best International Newcomer at the 1988 Brit Awards ceremony.
He released three further albums which continued to give him success, whilst some of his singles floundered. He found moderate success again in 1993 with singles Do You Love Me Like You Say? and his boring duet with Des’ree titled Delicate – both which reached #14 in the UK. His most recent UK charting single was Vibrator in summer of 1995, which stalled at #57.
This album re-entered the chart in 1995, giving it a second brief run, where it charted at #53 in the UK.
In the mid-90s, he decided to change his name to Sananda Maitreya following a series of dreams he’d had. He disposed of his former name by saying that “Terence Trent D’Arby is dead” and “…he died a noble death. After intense pain I meditated for a new spirit, a new will, a new identity”.
Under the name Sananda Maitreya he has continued to record, release and tour with his new albums, but none of these have managed to chart in the UK. Sananda’s most recent album was The Rise Of The Zugebrian Time Lords (2014).
POP RESCUE RATING
Over all, this is quite a good album. Terence’s vocal skills are explore well here, and for a few songs you hear glimmers of Prince, Michael Jackson, James Brown and even maybe The Four Tops. The singles really shine, and they’re complemented well by their album companions.
Whilst his career may be remembered for that big Sign Your Name hit, there’s plenty more of him to explore.
- POP RESCUE RATING: 3 / 5
- 1987 UK CHART POSITION: #1, certified 5x Platinum.
- POP RESCUE COST: £2.00 from Hunts Antiques in Huntingdon.