Sunday, July 20, 2014

Thomas Donovan-Digital Dreams (1993)


Not Jason Donovan, as in the popular PWL pop icon, but Thomas Donovan, an early 90's Canadian club singer whose music is about as addicting as Jason's. I've downshifted gears somewhat from my super-charged Eurodance/Eurodisco travels back to the electronic synthpop world with "Digital Dreams", Thomas Donovan's debut album which, coincidentally, is now only available in digital format. Had I gotten it on CD, I'm pretty sure I would've worn it out to the point of it being nearly unreadable from so many spins in the CD player! So far, I've only spun it once, but that's gonna change real soon! An ERASURE/Howard Jones sound-alike both vocally and stylistically, Thomas gets the electro-pop excitement rolling on the opener, "Total Controller". I've listened to this a few of times now, and I've been so busy enjoying the beat that I haven't really determined if it is he himself who is the total controller of the relationship he sings about in the lyrics or the love of his life who's the total controller, or if either is even controlling the other at all. But I do seem to recall that, by the end of the lyrics at least, everything's under control and both parties are seeing eye to eye. "Dive In A Dream" is when the real romantic dreaminess in these "Digital Dreams" swims to the surface; the melody and the light synthpoppy beat are very lovely on the ears. That goes double for the follow-up tune, "Who Would Do?", whose breezy melody and keyboard arrangement I love even more, not to mention that cool double-layered voice in the main chorus. Then after that, it's not a love song, but a song about people who love to hate on the perky and pop-licious "Pretty City". That whistle melody breathing through the background? An instant catch, it is, and so are the interesting words the Thomas has to say about those haters living in the not-so-pretty city. It's my favorite on the album, so you can bet I was more than delighted when I jammed to the 4+ minute 'Extended Version' at the end (frankly, they could'e extended it for whole 'nother three-and-a-half minutes!). Not quite Eurodance, but the high-energy rhythm is all there on Track #5's "High Time"; bet this one was a smash club hit back in the day, and bet the 5+ minute 'Dance Version' was the mix that was selected. "Colorcode", with it's that-so-80's beat and great keyboard accompaniment (and the songs on this album, I noticed, certainly feature a lot of great keyboarding!), is so easy to get hooked to, but I myself was intrigued more by what Thomas was talking about when he sings 'I don't know why you colorcode me'. He leaves you with something to think about on the warming slow number, "Yesterday's Dream". Well, the music sounds warming, yet the mood is anything but, as the lyrics are full of regret and misery. And as the song fades out, you're almost left hanging on the cliff with him and wishing htings hadn't ended the way that they did:

1. Total Controller
2. Dive In A Dream
3. Who Would Do?
4. Pretty City
5. High Time
6. Colorcode
7. Yesterday's Dream
8. Total Controller [Extended Mix]
9. High Time [Dance Version]
10. Pretty City [Extended Version]

No comments: