Wednesday, August 27, 2014

LA BOUCHE-Sweet Dreams (1995)


I'm sorry, but I had to interrupt my own 80's flashback in order to bring you a special presentation on one of my favorite all-time Eurodance albums: "Sweet Dreams", the amazing debut by the amazing duo of LA BOUCHE. You know, I still can't get used to the fact that their name is pronounced as 'lah-BOOSH' instead of the incorrect three-syllable way I had been saying it for years: 'la-boo-SHAY'; personally, I think the latter sounds better. But it's the amazing voice of the female half of this duo that totally rocks the house: the late Melanie Thornton. And with it, she puts an electrifying charge into the duo's bombastic remake of Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots" (Eurodance remakes of old favorites from the 80's are always in order!), which kicks off all of the sweet Eurodance festivities here. The title track right afterwards, however, isn't a remake—of the EURYTHMICS 1983 hit by the same name—as I had believed many years ago—but it is one of LA BOUCHE's most popular and catchiest dance tracks ever! Just love that pulsating, high-energy beat! Though catchiest song of them all, I must say, has to be the third of this opening trifecta: "Be My Lover". Those same words in the main chorus keep playing over and over in my head: 'wanna be my lover', 'wanna be my lover', 'wanna be my lover', followed by that nostalgic, mind-inducing 'la la la dee da da da da'. Oh, and I love that 'ah ha, yeah-heah, hee, wanna be my lover' in the main chorus' second arrangement, plus the way Melanie reaches down into her soul as her voice soars into the stratosphere whenever she screams 'wanna be my lover' (I always imagine there being a remix where her voice becomes distorted with some kind of chopped-up electronic effect here as her voice sails on). "Forget Me Nots", "Sweet Dreams", and "Be My Lover"—all were hugely popular on the radio back in the way (and I imagine they still are in some places), but there's one dance jam that I never heard on the least not by LA BOUCHE: "Where Do You Go?". That would be one of the signature hits by the all-male dance trio NO MERCY, whom I had realized was produced by the name man who produced LA BOUCHE: Frank Farian, the man who masterminded the German duo MILLI VANILLI (I love doing these cross-references and making these music connections). I probably favor NO MERCY's version because of the Latin overtones and their more romantic voices blending in with the warming melody, particularly because of the bouncy way in which they sing 'oh-oh-oh-oh-way-oh' in the main chorus, but Melanie's rendition of it isn't bad at all. You may not hear this one the radio as often as "Be My Lover" or "Sweet Dreams"—you might not hear it on the radio at all—but "Shoo Bee Do Bee Do (I Like That Way)" is another fun track that deserves quite a bit of listening time. I can't just listen to that catchy 'shoo bee do bee do' part over and over and the song's funky, midtempo beat and be more than satisfied. Sometimes, I forget what the song is even about in the first place! When the Eurodance beats slow down, the music is still ever so sweet on the ears. It's nothing but smooth groovin' on the r&b cuts "Fallin' In Love" and my favorite on this whole album, "I'll Be There", which is not a remake of the notable JACKSON FIVE song, but a truly inspirational piece. 'If you can't go on I will see you through', 'if you're weak I'll give you the strength', 'if you're restless I will follow you'..... Those lyrics performed by the accompanying soulful backup vocalists, combined with Melanie earnestly leading the way and putting emotion into every word, give me goosebumps every time I tune in:

1. Forget Me Nots
2. Sweet Dreams
3. Be My Lover
4. Fallin' In Love
5. I'll Be There
6. Nice 'n' Slow
7. Where Do You Go?
8. I Love To Love
9. Do You Still Need Me?
10. Poetry In Motion
11. Shoo Bee Do Bee Do (I Like That Way)
12. The Heat Is On
13. Mama Look (I Love Him)
14. Be My Lover [House Mix]

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