Review: “Kim Appleby” by Kim Appleby (CD, 1990)

Today’s POP RESCUE from an uncertain fate, is the 1990 debut eponymous solo album Kim Appleby, by English singer, songwriter, and actress, and of course, one half of 80’s hit pop sibling duo Mel and Kim, it’s Kim Appleby. Will this album be the Apple of your eye, or should you Worry? Read on…

Kim Appleby - Kim Appleby (1990) album cover
Kim Appleby – Kim Appleby (1990) album

This 10 track CD opens with the familiar warm synth and Kim’s vocals of hit lead single Don’t Worry. This song is a wonderful upbeat song, loaded with house pianos, and a ton of lyrics about being strong – the complete pick-me-up. Kim sounds like she’s beaming throughout. It is phenomenally catchy, and the mid section allows Kim to show off her vocals. It was robbed of a #1, instead settling at #2 in the UK chart.

Next is Mama, taking the tempo down a bit for this third single, with a gentle percussive intro. Kim’s vocals sit perfectly in this slower and lower-register song. It’s a contrast to the previous song, but it is a wonderful song. It’s simple, and that works well with the reflective lyrics. The track sadly stumbled just inside the UK top 20, at #19.

If You Cared follows this, and it picks up the tempo a bit. Whilst this should result in another strong pop belter, sadly it misses the mark. The occasional brass synth moments are nice, but it does feel a bit weaker. The track went on to be the album’s fourth and final single, and seemingly the UK agreed, giving it a #44 peak in the singles chart. This definitely feels like an album-only song.

Fading in next is Downtown Clown. The track has a nice catchy bass line, and a great pop beat. The track is stronger than If You Cared, and could easily have been a stronger single, as musically and lyrically more memorable and also has some quirkiness too.

I’ll Be There is next, giving Kim a wonderful platform to show off her heartfelt and rich vocals in the first verse of this mid-tempo song. The backing vocals and harmonies on this song are wonderful too, set against a delicate little synth sequence.

An organ gently ushers in the belter G.L.A.D (which, as Kim explains, stands for Good Lovin’ And Devotion). This track was the second single from the album and it is another fantastically catchy track, packed with orchestral hits, a well placed rap from Brinsley Ford of Aswad, a nice pop beat, brass sections, and Kim’s fantastic vocals. It feels like a companion to the S/A/W Kylie hit Shocked.

Next up is Hey You, and this has a nice melody, and Kim does a great job with the vocals, although these despaired lyrics just sit a bit uncomfortably here on this album. It’s nice enough, but definitely sits in the album-only or b-side territory. It doesn’t really suit Kim in my opinion, and would probably better suit Bros, which given Bros’ former bassist Craig Logan is co-writer on seven of the tracks here, that kind of makes sense.

That’s followed by What Did I Do Wrong? and this is another nice mid-tempo reflective song. The tinkling piano, vocal melody, and beats sound great, and Kim does a great job flittering between verse and chorus. At times it sounds a bit Pet Shop Boys with the waves of synths.

Dodgy People is up next, and this has a wonderful sound to it. Kim’s cautionary lyrics sit well on the almost ska sound of the backing track. There’s some really nice and warm vocals here with harmonies from Kim.

The album closes with Teach Me, which opens with some slightly space-like synths before giving way to some warm swelling synth pads. Kim’s vocals are soft and echoed here, and the backing vocal harmonies with Miriam Stockley and Mae McKenna (throughout this album) work really well in their abruptness. It all fits perfectly in this slow number, with the gentle percussion shuffling along in the background as the song slowly builds and drifts off again. It’s a perfect end to this album.

Kim Appleby’s lead solo single ‘Don’t Worry’.

Verdict

Over all, this album is a joy to the ears. It’s clear that there’s plenty of 1980’s pop songs in here, along with that early 1990 more dance orientated sound. With seven of the ten songs co-written with Craig Logan, and nine of them co-written with her late sister, Melanie Appleby, the pop pedigree is strong, and it is pretty much a Mel and Kim album. The sentimental tributes through the lyrics are blatantly clear.

There’s some real belters on this album though, with G.L.A.D and Don’t Worry leading the way. There’s a few mis-steps too with Hey You being the worst of them, although these are likely down to the dated feel of what cutting-edge sounds like after 30 years. I did listen to this album a few times in 1990 and it was amazing back then.

Rated 4 stars - You're missing a treat!
  • POP RESCUE 2021 RATING: 4 / 5
  • 1990 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #23, certified Gold by the BPI.
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1.99 from a British Heart Foundation store.

Have your say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.