Thumb's down to Eurythmics' dull We Too Are One
WE TOO ARE ONE
By DAVID STERN
EURYTHMICS HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE most interesting pop groups of the past seven years: it is clich'ed but true to say that Dave Steward's production and songwriting talent combined with Annie Lennox's voice makes Eurythmics unique. From their first album, Sweet Dreams, they have made challenging pop music of many different styles that has always been superior to the norm of pop music. Unfortunately, Eurythmics have become complacent in their success. On their latest album, We Too Are One, they have created formula and uninspired songs that do not match up to their earlier work.
Throughout, I had a sense of having heard this before. Of course every group "borrows" material from elsewhere, but not to the extent that the listener is conscious of it in almost every song. (At least in the case of De La Soul, it is done overtly.)
On several songs such as "Revival" and "How Long?" an attempt is made to fuse 1980's dance music with 1960's-style Motown or gospel. Unfortunately, Eurythmics forgot one element of the Motown style: soul, that elusive quality that you know when it's there. It ain't here.
The worst aspect of this album is the lyrics. Inane and banal are not quite strong enough words to describe them, but they'll suffice. I had difficulty deciding on the most inane lyrics to use as an example, but here's a good candidate, from the title track:
So put your lovin' arms around me baby
and hold me tight
Give it everything you've got now baby
We'll get it right
People like us are too messed up
to live in solitude
I'm gonna cure that problem baby
I'm gonna fix it good.
Lyrics have never been Eurythmics' strong point, but this album is a low. It is tempting to put in another example, but trust me that the lyrics are, well, consistent.
The songs are in general well-written; most of them would likely receive an "A" in Songwriting 101. However, none of them are as inspired as past classics such as "Sweet Dreams" or "Love Is A Stranger." The production is generally also well-done; "Sylvia" among others has some captivating sound textures. But, to compare once again, the production seems lackluster compared to the cerebral neo-psychedelia of their earlier efforts.
On the plus side, the songs are, in general, catchy, carefully produced (compared to most music hitting the top-40 today), and danceable. A few of these songs are obviously chartbound ("We Too Are One," "(My My) Baby's Gonna Cry," "Angel," "How Long?"), and Eurythmics will not be written off quite yet.
However, for making novel and challenging pop music, Eurythmics have seemingly become obsolete, replaced by more innovative artists such as Sinead O'Connor or the Sugarcubes. If this album were by a new group, I would probably think: well-done; they have potential. But for Eurythmics, who have made almost-brilliant albums in the past, it is a shame for them to make well-done music on the level of Huey Lewis and the News. The album is almost thoroughly uninspired, and Eurythmics' smugness with this is depressing.