Today’s POP RESCUE from a potentially loveless fate, is the 1985 international version of the Jennifer Rush album by Jennifer Rush, but would this album give you a rush, or would it just be pain? Read on…
This 10 track album opens with sixth and final single, Madonna’s Eyes. The introduction to this song reminds me a lot of the bass and synth section of Don’t You Want Me by the Human League. Jennifer’s vocals make light work of the lyrics in this song, sat on top of the delightful 80’s electronic sounds that bleep and tinkle in the background. Sadly, this wasn’t enough to give her a hit – with this single flopping at 84 in the UK.
Waves of bleeping synths swirl throughout 25 Lovers, but the tempo is slightly lower here. A simple pop-rock beat keeps the song on track as Jennifer again makes light work of the vocals. She’s joined by some nice vocal harmonies in the chorus. This is quite a nice song, but this third single only charted in France and Germany where it gave her hits at #9 and #25 respectively.
Come Give Me Your Hand feels like the companion to her big hit (coming later). Here Jennifer is given some big vocals, which in turn have a healthy scoop of echo added on. This song has all the ingredients of a power ballad – slow stadium rock beat, heartfelt vocals including a shouty note, chugging guitar and bass, and a general sound that this could easily have been covered by Meatloaf. This was the second single in France in 1983, but it failed to chart.
Next up it’s Nobody Move, which ironically has quite a toe-tapping beat to it. There’s some wonderful little guitar sections. Vocally, I’m beginning to be reminded of Heather Small, but the definite 80’s keyboard orchestra hit sounds, and strange marimba (?) section, keep this song clear of M People. The vocal samples in this song must have sounded really fresh and exciting back in 1985, and therefore I’m sad to see that despite most of this album becoming a single, that this track wasn’t one of them. Missed opportunity there.
Never Gonna Turn Back Again follows this, and this song seems to fully embrace the Meatloaf/Bonnie Tyler style of power rock ballads. To be honest, this track isn’t very interesting, and whilst Jennifer takes the lyrics with great ease, musically it’s just a bit predictable and dull.
Hand claps and snares introduce us to Ring Of Ice. There’s layers of beeping keyboards, and ‘woo-ooo ha ha‘ backing vocals that regularly return to the fore. This track, by contrast of the previous one, is a really up-beat, catchy song, and one that really gives Jennifer some space to show off her vocal range and ability to sing songs that are more ‘pop’. This single gave her a #14 hit in the UK.
This is followed by Into My Dreams, which opens with tom-toms and synths which give us a dramatic introduction to this song. It soon switches to only a synth and Jennifer’s vocals before the beats and bass arrive. Again, Jennifer has plenty of excuses to show off her vocal power and range, and these moments are accentuated by the use of some heavy rock drum fills, and eventually a roaring guitar solo. This track is really quite catchy. This was the lead single in France, where it gave her a top 10 hit in 1983. It didn’t chart in the UK.
I See A Shadow (Not A Fantasy) is up next, and this track picks up the bleeping synths, and marries them to a great plodding bassline and rock beat. The end result is quite a catchy pop-rock track, even if it is quite a sinister song (lyrically). It even comes with a false ending, that returns and gives you another wave of the lovely warm 80s synthscapes.
Penultimate track Surrender takes the tempo even higher, with more synths and bass. This song really chugs along and Jennifer’s vocals are there with it. This is another toe-tapper, even during the weird 80’s keyboard section from about 2m 20s. Oddly it fades out quite fast, as if everyone got bored, or had to run to catch the bus.
The album closes with none other than her huge hit, The Power Of Love. Here, we’ve got a slightly more 80’s electronic version. Jennifer’s vocals are rich, strong, and wonderfully spine tingling as she reaches for those ’cause I am your lady’ vocals. The drums are gentle, the bass tip-toes through with the bass drum, and the 80’s synths give you a sense of a string section beneath. This was Jennifer’s highest and debut charting single in the UK, giving her a #1 hit. Despite earlier top 10 success in France, this stalled at #32, and despite the slew of mediocre rip-offs of this song by other American artists in later years, this single flunked at #57 in the US. This is a fantastically classic power ballad. It is flawless.
Over all, this album is a fantastic example of early 80’s music. Pop at this time is gently shaking off it’s rock sibling and trying to find it’s own, and here with all the synths and samples, Jennifer is helping to make that change. There’s a few songs in here that could easily be Meatloaf, Bonnie Tyler, or even Heather Small, but that’s a compliment of vocal prowess. Jennifer makes light work of all the lyrics here, even those that sound a little bit stunted at times, and the end result is a mostly great collection of songs.
Where is Jennifer Rush now?
Despite the huge success of The Power Of Love, which became one of the biggest selling singles of all time, this was not enough to sustain her commercial success in the UK. By the time her third charting single (Madonna’s Eyes) hit the charts, it had stalled at #84. Her next UK single Destiny, charted at #96. Even a duet with Elton John stalled at #59.
It wouldn’t be until 1989 until she returned to the UK top 30, with Placido Domingo and their dreadful #24 hit Til I Loved You.
Her final UK charting single was 1990’s Higher Ground.
Despite this, she has continued to record and release many further albums and singles, which have continued her Western Europe success, especially in Germany. Her most recent album is Now Is The Hour (2010), but this has not charted in the UK.
In June 2015 her official website announced she would undertake a tour of South Africa.
POP RESCUE RATING
- POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 3 / 5
- 1985 UK CHART PEAK: #7
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.45 from a Sue Ryder Care store.