The second High Life International compilation of 1984 is known as the “jeans edition”. I have added the number 2 to the title to differentiate it from High Life International aka the “trainers edition”. Like its predecessor, this one is another fascinating snapshot of the candidates that made Euro pop ’84 so memorable.
Bronski Beat’s Why? makes for a powerful opener. A dizzy rush of adrenalin left over from the genes of Smalltown Boy. Manfred Alois Segieth or Fancy as he’s better known raises the bar with the timeless Italo disco of Chinese Eyes. Equally magnificent and sharing the same “80s forever” synth strain is Only You by Savage. Amazing female backing vocal that makes me think of the Los Angeles olympics. John Treacy in slow motion. In between there was an opportunity to slip into the virtual sea with Barry Gibb’s Caribbean-flavoured Shine, Shine. The arrangement is worthy of James Last.
I remember Shakatak on Top Of The Pops with Down On The Street. Watching You was taken from the same LP but did not receive a UK release. It’s a salutary tale of surveillance worthy of any number of late night movie scenes. Woodpeckers From Space was a curious oddity from Holland duo Video Kids that emerged over here in October 1985. It reached #72; obviously not too many people were ready for woody boogie. Also welcome are Timmy Thomas’ rhythmic jam Gotta Give A Little Love [from the Bachelor Party soundtrack] and the old skool groove of Unity Part 1 (The Third Coming) courtesy of Afrika Bambaataa and James Brown.
George Michael and Elton John appear consecutively as opposed to a duet. Careless Whisper reached #3 in Germany while Who Wears These Shoes hit #11 in Ireland but barely scraped the UK top 50. The single remix of the latter improves upon the album version but ultimately comes off as a semi-interesting failure – just like Raff’s rather subdued Change Your Mind. And quintessentially of its time is Corey Hart’s throbbing Sunglasses At Night. Drive.
The token folky number is provided by Pussycat and the gently-plucked Light Of A Gypsy. Another Now 4 refugee appears to funk things up – Level 42’s barnstorming Hot Water. It’s followed by another impeccable groove – Mirage’s melodic disco tune Get Down [not the Jack Mix dudes]. Another valuable single remix next – Chris Rea’s brassy Ace Of Hearts; one of his many trump cards and much more dynamic than the Wired For The Moon take. The final curtain comes from Frida and the stop/start Shine.
Vielen dank für die musik.
Fancy – Chinese Eyes
Savage – Only You
Lest we forget
Chris Rea – Ace Of Hearts (Special Remix)