(4 / 5)
One of the most unique voices and music talents the UK has ever produced? I think so……
This is the first expanded edition re-issue of Marc Almond’s 4th solo album, “The Stars We Are” since its original release in September 1988.
This re-issue is a three-disc set that, on its first disc, couples the original 10-track album with its initial release’s CD and cassette-only bonus tracks – and with the B-Sides of its associated singles.
A second CD features all known extended and remix versions of the album tracks.
The third disc, a DVD (Region 0, PAL), compiles all six of the promotional videos filmed for the album, including the Tim Pope directed “Bitter-Sweet’ and the alternate U.S. version video of “Tears Run Rings”, as directed by Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson of Coil and Throbbing Gristle fame.
“The Stars We Are” was the first of two albums recorded for Parlophone and was Marc Almond’s return to a highly infectious and chartable pop.
The first single “Tears Run Rings” confirmed the revitalised, unabashed pop that characterised the record and reached 26 on the UK singles chart.
But it was the third single, “Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart”, a duet with the hit song’s original singer Gene Pitney that provided the commercial zenith of the album; the single reaching number one in the UK chart for four consecutive weeks in early 1989.
It never gets old and really is a stunning performance by Marc and by the late and great Gene. Killer song, too, penned by Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook. Originally recorded by David and Jonathan, and then Gene Pitney in 1967, the latter’s version of the song reached number five on the UK chart in December 1967.
The song was covered by many other artists, including Cilla Black, Terry Reid, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on their 1986 covers album. It was sung in Italian by Gene Pitney with the title “Uomo, non sai”.
About time some ad’ company used the Almond/Pitney version for a TV advertising campaign and it got re-released as a single. I predict another number one! A&R execs, please take note!
The album was recorded with an assembled band “La Magia”, which comprised of former Willing Sinners members Annie Hogan, Billie McGee and Steve Humphries as a core unit. The album is a shimmering arc of musical textures, compulsive melodrama and euphoric uplift.
As well as further singles “Bitter-Sweet” (UK # 40) and “Only The Moment” (UK # 45), the album contains an homage to goth sensibilities in “Your Kisses Burn”, a duet with Nico (her last ever studio recording), as well as an extravagant mini-operetta, “Kept Boy”, a duet with cult chanteuse Agnes Bernelle.
Packaged in a mini-LP style capacity wallet, this expanded edition contains sleeve notes from celebrated cult poet and biographer Jeremy Reed as part of a richly illustrated full colour 36-page lyric booklet.
If you are yet to discover the breadth of Mr Almond’s talents aside from his commercial hits, this new set is a great place to start. But if that is the case, where the heck have you been all this time?
If you admire the man as much as I do, my words here will be redundant, as by now you’ll have snapped up this three-disc gem, for sure. Enjoy!
By Graham Morrison
- THE STARS WE ARE
2. THESE MY DREAMS ARE YOURS
4. ONLY THE MOMENT
5. YOUR KISSES BURN (FEATURING SPECIAL GUEST STAR NICO)
6. THE VERY LAST PEARL
7. TEARS RUN RINGS
8. SOMETHING’S GOTTEN HOLD OF MY HEART (FEATURING SPECIAL GUEST STAR GENE PITNEY)
9. THE SENSUALIST
10. SHE TOOK MY SOUL IN ISTANBUL
11. THE FROST COMES TOMORROW
12. KEPT BOY (FEATURING SPECIAL GUEST STAR AGNES BERNELLE)
13. EVERYTHING I WANTED LOVE TO BE
14. KING OF THE FOOLS
15. REAL EVIL
- THE STARS WE ARE (Full Length Mix)
2. TEARS RUN RINGS (12” Version)
3. BITTER-SWEET (12” Version)
4. ONLY THE MOMENT (All The Time In The World Mix)
5. THESE MY DREAMS ARE YOURS (Through The Night Mix)
6. TEARS RUN RINGS (Justin Strauss Remix)
7. BITTER-SWEET (The Big Beat Mix)
8. THE SENSUALIST (Ultimate Ecstasy Mix)
9. SHE TOOK MY SOUL IN ISTANBUL (The Blue Mosque Mix)
10. TEARS RUN RINGS (The ‘La Magia’ Dance Mix)
11. SOMETHING’S GOTTEN HOLD OF MY HEART (Solo Version)
DISC THREE: DVD (PAL Region: 0)
- TEARS RUN RINGS
3. SOMETHING’S GOTTEN HOLD OF MY HEART (FEATURING SPECIAL GUEST STAR GENE PITNEY)
4. ONLY THE MOMENT
5. THE STARS WE ARE
6. TEARS RUN RINGS (U.S. VERSION)
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’