Jimmy Somerville [Bronski Beat And The Communards]/The Singles Collection: 1984-1990

The Singles Collection 1984-1990Bronski Beat was a popular British synth pop trio who achieved notable success in the mid 1980s, particularly with the 1984 chart hit “Smalltown Boy“. All members of the group were openly gay and their songs often contained political commentary on gay related issues. Although many groups in the early to mid 80s had an openly gay image, Bronski Beat was one of the first groups to address the issues of gay people. At the height of their popularity the band consisted of singer Jimmy Somerville backed by Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbachek, both of whom played keyboards and percussion.

The Communards were a British pop duo active from 1985 to 1988. They are most famous for their cover of Thelma Houston‘s song, “Don’t Leave Me This Way” as well as “Never Can Say Goodbye“.

Jimmy Somerville (born 22 June 1961, Glasgow) is a Scottish pop singer and songwriter. He had considerable success in the 1980s with the pop groups Bronski Beat and The Communards, and has also had a successful solo career.[1]

He is known in particular for his falsetto singing voice.

Somerville’s latest album, Suddenly Last Summer was released in May 2009 as a digital download only.

Smalltown Boy—-Despite the wonderful swirling synths and the hyped Dance Floor beats, this is perhaps one of the most intense dance songs I have ever heard. Somerville delivers a vocal that has gone down in the history books as classic while reminding us that not every journey for Gay people is a happy or easy one. The catchiness of the synth and the irresistable looks of Somerville helped makes Bronski one of the best unknown bands of the 80’s. This still sounds remarkably fresh to me…this is genius….despite the heartbreaking story that Jimmy tells.

Don’t Leave Me This Way—-As a ‘gay icon’. it was inevitable that Somerville would tackle this classic dance floor hit that still pounds off the walls of any respectable gay club today. Somerville delivers perhaps the best cover version of this song I have ever heard….coming close to eclipsing the original in terms of pace and energy. This is remarkable….when you hear the opening strains of this track, you know you are in for a treat…I never get tired of this….Somerville has the pipes and he delivers on this with little problem.

Ain’t Necessarily So—-This borders on brilliant….the song remains full of dance grooves but is plush with jazz sounds and reminds me of something Sade would sing. The vocal, as always is masterful. Somerville tells a story that reminds us to never, ever judge a book by the cover lest you be surprised. The ending of the song…when the gang chants come together remains brilliant. This is fantastic!!!

To Love Somebody—-Somerville covers the Bee Gees with a huge Reggae beat that is splendid. Why did no one think of this angle before. Even the magnificent incorporation of the horns is brilliant. The relaxed 3 beat bass matched with the backdrop of female singers is magnificent….only Jimmy would dare try to pull this off AND succeed. This is brilliant!!!

Comment Te’ Dire Adieu—-This is classic sounding manufactured dance music ala the 90’s with a tremendous gay twist. Singing in French, but with C + C Music Factory beats, Somerville actually reaches way down and delivers a vocal at times sounds foreign and strange…but it is nice none the less. This is a huge dance floor track with both modern dance grooves and synth swirls that remind me of the excess of the 70’s Disco at the same time…fantastic!!!

Run From Love—-With a huge deep dance floor beat and a space filled synth line, Somerville enters the song with a relaxed yet familiar vocal. This is nice, but has never been a real favorite of mine as Jimmy delves into the deeper realms of his voice and in the process looses some of the magic. Nice, but lacks a bit for me.

Never Can Say Goodbye—-Covering Gay iconic songs like the Gay icon he is, Somerville again steps on the Thelma Houston ground with this remarkable cover version of the disco classic from one of the original Divas…and the result is nothing less than spectacular. The swirls of synth and atmosphere are magic…the voice is even better than any human being can imagine…this is classic, well done modern-day Disco that rivals the original in every form.

Why?—-I can remember the first time I heard this song and the effect that it had on me during my initial coming out process…this was as important as acceptance from friends. This helped me to realize that the way I felt was real and ok. Somerville tells a tale that any person can relate to…but for Gay people, this was a step beyond. This was something real that we could relate to and live through and grow from…this is a classic masterpiece!!!

You Are My World—-This is nice…the entrance synth line is heavy with a nice bass beat in the backdrop….and a mellow piano sound leading the way to the entrance of the vocal. This is down tempo music that still fits the vocal of Sommerville remarkably well. There is little doubt about the point of a love song when it is delivered by Somerville and the intensity and aim is clear on this one…if only i could find someone like this to feel about.

For A Friend—-The track is ok…the sunth lines are apparent, but the energy is absent and the song falls a bit flat for me. I love the chorus…it has a bright moment but overall, this seems to lack a real meaning for Somerville and it comes across in the recording in a glaring way.

I Feel Love/Johnny Remember Me—-Perhaps one of the best renditions of this song I have ever heard, I prefer this over the Summer original hands down. The passion and the intensity that Jimmy delivers the song with has rarely been matched. This is musical history…depending on what book you are reading…LMAO!!! None the less, this stands up as well today as it did back when it first surfaced in the early, early 80’s. This is magical. Pure brilliance. The synth lines on this track travel about 150 miles an hour…who caould ask for more???

There’s More To Love Than Boy Meets Girl—-This is magnificent!!! So steeped in the mid-80’s synth line, Somerville delivers a track that is here and there and to the new comer might make them wonder where this guy is coming from…for the fans, the direction is clear. this is addictive synth-pop that sticks in your brain AND to your bones. Classic…wonderful and poppy…this is a piece of magic.

So Cold The Night—-This is bloody marvelous…..with a huge India style flute playing in the backdrop, the bass heavy synth line comes forward and introduces Somerville as he tells a romantic tale of love in the night. This is so fresh and magical for me…I love the exotic feel and the renewed energy of Jimmy…A wonderful journey.

You Make Me Feel [Mighty Real]—-Jimmy takes on the Disco Queen..Sylvester….and emerges unscathed as the version of this song is so huge and masterful you wonder Sylvester who? Nothing comes close to the original, but this is pretty damn close. The energy and the huge synth lines give you a magical euphoric feel that you will keep with you for days after listening to this. This is pure magic…I could not think of a better person to cover this song than Jimmy…wanna get married Somerville????

Tomorrow—-Bass heavy and full of dance floor grooves, this is still slightly sad and over whelming. This comes across as a sadder sound than what I expected…Somerville delivers a classic vocal, but the emotion drips off the edge of the song with a heaviness that you can not ignore. This is great!!!

Disenchanted—-This is great dance floor synth pop that still hangs on to a slight jazzy feel that reminds you of a nice uptempo club act that lands in an out-of-place bar to play. The vocal is nice but differs little from the past 15 songs…a little variance would be nice, but I am not complaining by any means as the lyric is a lesson for every homophobe in the audience to pay attention to. This is great!!!

Read My Lips—-WOW….the music on this is extraordinary….the Euro-Disco sounds are incredible….this is bright and shine and delivers enough euphoric feeling to keep you dancing all night. This is magical and a really great taste to leave in your brain as this release comes to a close…I could not ask for more…this might border on brilliant!!!

****3/4 out of 5



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