Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the 1989 14th album Another Place And Time from Disco legend, Donna Summer. But should you take a one-way ticket if this album comes on? Read on..
This 10 track album opens with second single I Don’t Wanna Get Hurt, which bursts opens with chugging bass and roaring pop guitars before Donna Summer’s crisp vocals arrive. Her voice is flawless and wonderfully suited to this song. It bounces along perfectly, and is incredibly pop and catchy in the way that only Stock, Aitken and Waterman could achieve.
This is followed by When Love Takes Over You, which is far more mellow and less catchy that the belting album opener. Donna’s vocals are softer, and it’s musically more gentle too – with pianos, and a slower beat. This was the fourth single from the album, but sadly wasn’t able to repeat the success of earlier singles, stalling at #72 in the UK chart.
Next up is lead single and huge hit, This Time I Know It’s For Real, which simply oozes S/A/W sound from the very first moment it bursts open with some very Rick Astley/Sonia-esque drums. This is textbook S/A/W and is absolutely flawless. This song gave her a #3 hit single, and it had been 10 years since she had last had a top 10 hit in the UK.
The Only One is up next, and this song instantly reminds me of a couple of tracks from the debut Kylie Minogue album from the previous year (in fact, the inside of Donna’s album sleeve is a similar style too). Vocally, Donna sounds reasonably similar to Kylie in the latters Turn It Into Love and Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi, and musically it’s got a wonderful 80’s mid-tempo pop feel to it – complete with guitar solo section, and a crisp bass/snare beat.
The album’s title track is next – In Another Place And Time, showing off Donna’s warm ballad vocals at the start before a light little percussive beat joins in as a simple keyboard plays underneath. This is the 5th track – the halfway point in the album, and probably would have been the closing track for side one of the vinyl version (still the dominant format in 1989), in that role, this lovely little track would have been even more fitting.
Sentimental follows, bringing the pace back up a bit again with a heavy bass beat plodding through this lovely little song. There’s a really nice vocal melody here too, as some brass chips in from time to time.
This is followed by Whatever Your Heart Desires, which opens with a ton of bleeping keyboards before bringing in that familiar bass and 80s pop beat. Donna’s vocals feel a bit wavy in her first line, but that’s easily forgiven as she effortlessly delivers the rest of them.
Next up is final single, Breakaway which musically sounds like nothing else on this album. Its slight Latin sound may have been the cause as to why it was a big hit in Brazil. As singles go, this isn’t the strongest song that saw release despite it’s positive and uplifting lyrics. It took a remix from those mix-masters Phil Harding and Ian Curnow before it saw a UK release – where it unfortunately stalled at #49.
Penultimate track If It Makes You Feel Good is up next, and again, we’re on to upbeat lyrics, and not to be confused with Stefan Dennis’ Don’t It Make You Feel Good from the same year. Donna’s vocals shine once again, and she’s got plenty of opportunities to show off her rich soft vocals alongside her strong powerful capacity. I think that this track might have been a better single.
The album closes with third single Love’s About To Change My Heart, which opens sounding a bit like a Whitney Houston 80s song, before absolutely roaring into a hi-NRG bass/keyboards/beats track. Donna’s vocals sit confidently on top of this, and at times it gives a wonderful nod to her disco era, giving her plenty of opportunities to show off her voice as the track thunders along. The song gave her a #20 UK hit single, and she was robbed – this should have been a top 10 hit.
Where is Donna Summer now?
Donna was due to record a second album with Stock, Aitken and Waterman but sadly it never came to be, with some of the songs penned for Donna, ending up giving Lonnie Gordon a string of hits instead including Happening All Over Again.
Donna found moderate success again during the mid-1990s, through re-releases of earlier hits I Feel Love, and a third re-release of State Of Independence. Her final UK charting single was I Feel Love, gaining a #45 chart place shortly after her death.
Donna died after a short battle with cancer in May 2012, which she believed was due to inhalation of toxic asbestos during the 9/11 attack.
Another Place And Time was re-released as a 3cd deluxe package in 2014… and I might just have to buy it.
POP RESCUE RATING
Over all, this is a fantastic pop album, and one that Donna needed at this period in her career. Donna’s vocals belt out the big powerful numbers alongside the slower more tender tracks with flawless skill.
The combination of a disco legend, and pop’s hottest songwriting and production team resulted in a brilliant album, which unbelievably peaked at only #17 in the UK. It is fantastic.
- POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 5 / 5
- 1989 UK CHART PEAK: #17, certified Gold.
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.99 from a British Heart Foundation store.