Pop Rock, 1999
I’ve always been a fan of Eurythmics, so it is with great anticipation that I played this CD, the duo’s new music in such a long time.
Well, Annie Lennox’s voice is still crystal-clear and amazing, and the songs are still great to the ears, if they are a little more mellow and sedate. But most striking is the melancholy and bitterness that threaten to overcome the entire album. I know it is one thing to settle down and be mellow in one’s mature years, but this is… uhm, startling.
On the great song 17 Again, we have: “Innocence will teach you what it means to be used.” 17 Again is my favorite of the lot, as it has some great lines chronicling the turbulent relationship between Ms Lennox and Dave Stewart (“who couldn’t be together and who couldn’t be apart”), and its rousing crescendo morphs into a rendition of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) wonderfully. Calculated nostalgia? Maybe, but it’s great.
The rousing singalong I Saved the World Today is actually a gloomy pessimist tract in disguise. “Hey, hey, I save the world today! The good thing’s here to stay,” Ms Lennox cheers, before pleading, “Please let it stay.” Behind the bravado is a weary, resigned lost soul.
But there are some great hear-me-roar moments – Power to the Meek and I Want It All see Mr Stewart and Ms Lennox letting their hair down and just rock. Great fun.
Everything else is preachy or melancholy, however. Despite the great melody in Peace Is Just a Word and Beautiful Child, songs like these depict a forlorn, desolate atmosphere where bleakness reigns and hope is just an elusive dream. Hence, while Peace is worth one, two, maybe even ten listens, it isn’t the pick-me-up tunes of Eurythmics of a bygone era. And I can’t help missing the latter.