Today’s POP RESCUE from an uncertain future, is the 1986 third album Love Goes All The Way by American singer-songwriter Shannon. Will this album go All The Way, or does it fall short? Read on…
This 8 track LP opens with the sultry sounding Prove Me Right, and this stood as the album’s second single. Bursting open, the song is swiftly into a gentle mid-tempo song, laced with some truly funky guitar and bass. The flitter of 80’s synths and drum fills sound great. Shannon delivers the track with great ease, with a few opportunities to show off her vocal power alongside softer warm vocals. This sound of this track feels like a worthy companion to the sound on her first album. The album is off to a good strong start, but sadly, this track didn’t chart in the UK, and scraped itself to #82 in the US’ Billboard charts.
Next up is titular and lead single Love Goes All The Way, which sits us instantly and firmly in ballad zone. It definitely sounds like the label was after an answer to Whitney Houston, but whilst Shannon puts in a stunning vocal performance over this somewhat paint-by-numbers plodding gentle ballad, and she’s joined here in backing vocals by Siedah Garrett (who also gave backing vocals to previous track Prove Me Right).
The album’s third and final single Dancin’ is next and this sounds wonderful as it bursts in. A plethora of drums, drum fills, and dramatic synth stabs give us a nice contrast to the previous song. This feels fresh and energetic, and Shannon gets to show off some really nice 80’s pop vocals alongside backing singer Cindy Mizelle, as well as give some glimmers of that big powerful voice we know she has. There’s even some pseudo-rap too, which makes the track even more exciting. It did give her her final UK charting single (so far), but it sadly stalled at #91 in the single’s chart in the Spring of 1987.
Side One closes with downbeat Sabotage My Heart, which really goes all out for bass and drums. Again, those stabbing synths are here, giving a glaring burst of 1980’s excitement and drama. At times they’re a little bit dominating, but Shannon manages to soulfully weave in and out from them, resulting in a really nice track.
Snares lead us in to Side Two’s opener You Put A Spark In My Life before adding some synths, bass, and percussion. Shannon arrives for the chorus, giving the track a fairly catchy start. The verse arrives, which sees Shannon singing mostly alongside the bass guitar, before the chorus returns us to the ensemble.
That leads on to Right Track – a mellow song, with some obligatory 80’s Saxophone as the mood brings us into a love song. Here, Shannon gets to show off her more softer soulful voice again, flanked by backing vocalists. It’s a gentle and somewhat simple song, and works really well, even if it feels like Shannon is mostly holding back. I can imagine this song with a more thumping beat and remixes. The song ends with a comedy nod to ‘track’ with a steam train chugging and tooting off into the distance. It’s a little lost in a slightly crackling vinyl LP, but it’s amusing.
Then it’s Faces In The Crowd, which ups the tempo, and gives Shannon ample opportunities to show off her vocal range against a catchy backing track. Guitars roar in response to hear big ‘yea-ee-yeahhh‘ moments. The track is mostly the chorus repeated, but at least it’s a foot tapper.
The album then closes with You Blew, which is straight in with bass drum, snare, and congas. Dramatic synths and a range of instrument sounds wander in, before the vocals arrive. This song gives a really nice upbeat song, with up-lifting vocals about someone else being a total failure. The percussion and bass get really great solos here, and that helps the song retain it’s high pace. This is a nice lifting track to end on.
Over all, this album is a mixture of sounds, but a great balance of style.
There’s oodles of wonderful 80’s hard hitting beats, stabbing synths, and funky fresh sounds – which is how it would have felt when new in 1986, and to be honest, it still carries most of this still in 2023. Dancin’ and Sabotage My Heart are probably the two strongest tracks here – both feeling quite upbeat and catchy pop songs, but Shannon’s more soulful delivery should not be ignored here, with Love Goes All The Way shining for good but different reasons. Faces In The Crowd is perhaps the weakest song here, but despite this even that sounds quite nice and warm with the backing vocalists, but just a little lacking in direction and lyrical journey.
In addition, the album sleeve isn’t particularly great. Choosing one of the two pictures for the whole cover may have been a better visual choice, even if there’s a meaning trying to be conveyed. At least invest in a real portrait of glamorous Shannon and actually hang it on the wall behind her working out, rather than do a poor job of trying to fake it. The back cover is lovely by contrast.
- POP RESCUE 2023 RATING: 4 / 5
- 1986 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: Did not chart.
- POP RESCUE COST: £3.99 from a Discogs.com seller.