Ariola’s Neue Hits ’89 mops up the autumn and winter smashes of 1988. Enya is first out of the trap with Orinico Flow. The track makes reference to the following locations:
Orinoco River, Tripoli, Yellow Sea, Bissau, Palau, Avalon, Fiji, Tiree, Isles of Ebony, Peru, Cebu, Babylon, Bali, Cali, Coral Sea, Ebudae (also the title of another Enya song), Khartoum, The Sea of Clouds (possibly Mount Huangshan, China) and the Island Of The Sun. A watershed in layered vocals. Showtime – I Know Him So Well, a duet from Chess where two women – Svetlana, the Russian chess champion’s estranged wife, and Florence, his mistress – express their bittersweet feelings for him and at seeing their respective relationships fall apart. Sung by Whitney Houston with mum Cissy, it was the sixth single from her nine times platinum second album.
Get on the soul train with Jermaine Stewart’s bright and breezy Don’t Talk Dirty To Me which is followed by the ’88 update of Bill Withers’ Lovely Day. There’s no escape from the Hoff and Bobby McFerrin as Looking For Freedom and Don’t Worry, Be Happy both pop up again. Escape back down the railway line with The Pasadenas’ polished Riding On A Train. The hills are alive with the sound of music; Edelweiss lift from SOS and Last Night A DJ Saved My Life with Russ Meyer-like Supervixen Maria Mathis fronting. Top heavy stuff. The familiar funk continues with the Four Tops’ Loco In Acapulco and Womack and Womack’s Teardrops. I’m puzzled at the inclusion of the latter – along with Sandra’s Secret Land and CC Catch’s Backseat Of Your Cadillac; all three already featured on Hits ’88 – Die Internationale Super Hits.
Jennifer Rush was still banging out the ballads in 1988. You’re My One And Only is appropriately powerful but was only a moderate hit in Europe. Blame the producers who seemingly cannot get the balance right between her operatic voice and a slick sound. Elsewhere Les McKeown’s Love Is A Just A Breath Away and Englebert’s Radio Dancing are good examples of rolling Euro disco. Let’s play with Samantha Fox; Love House, her take on the acid house scene is simply fantastic despite its modest #32 placing in the UK charts. Kudos to the producers Ferdi Bolland and Rob Bolland. Just that type of girl.
Disc 2 starts with Inner City’s pulsating Big Fun and is followed by the imposter heat of Milli Vanilli’s Baby Don’t Forget My Number. Hugely enjoyable despite the lip-synching. There’s a drive for equality [topical in Ireland now] with Yazz’s catchy Stand Up For Your Love Rights. After Sandra’s synth-mysterons, Bo Andersen and Bernie Paul give us the earnest Reach For The Stars while Charlotte Ross’ plaintive Talk To Me is made for late-night radio. Whodini and Midnight Star – a match made in heaven. Lots of booty shaking while rollerskating to this masterpiece back in the day. We slip back into cheese territory with Blue System’s tear-jerking Silent Water. Meanwhile Ellis, Beggs and Howard give us the stark and foreboding Where Did Tomorrow Go?
Rattle and Hum became U2’s sixth studio album. The companion rockumentary film was directed by Phil Joanou. Both featured live recordings, covers, and new songs. The band continued the thread of The Joshua Tree by continuing to explore American roots music and incorporated elements of blues rock, folk rock, and gospel music in their sound. Desire was the lead single and is a punchy, concise number with a Bo Diddley beat. John Farnham’s Two Strong Hearts is inoffensive rock from the man with the mullet while Craaft’s Jane is epic German hair metal. Channel 5’s Take A Trip is rather angular while Bang’s You’re The One is straightforward SAW-lite pop. The closing track is a neat trick: Melissa Etheridge’s passionate and powerful Bring Me Some Water. Red, hot and blue.
“In the howling wind comes a stinging rain
See it driving nails
Into the souls on the tree of pain
From the firefly, a red orange glow
See the face of fear
Running scared in the valley below”.
U2 – Desire
Samantha Fox – Love House
Jennifer Rush – You’re My One And Only
Midnight Star (featuring Ecstacy of Whodini) – Don’t Rock The Boat
Lest we forget
Melissa Etheridge – Bring Me Some Water