Monday, November 9, 2015

VITAMIN Z-Rites Of Passage [Remastered Edition] (2009)


Have you taken your vitamins today? I've I myself haven't needed to take any vitamins—not with me on this steady diet of music by this English pop group called VITAMIN Z that I've been feeding to my listening ears over the past couple of weeks. As I alluded to before in a previous post, VITAMIN Z is part of that same addicting lineup of artists that I've been going around and around with lately. Wasn't expecting them to be addicting, though. Sure, I love any kind of music from the 80's, but it had taken a few listens to the songs on this group's debut album—the 2009 remastered edition, that is—before the light, lofty vocals of the group's lead singer and their new-wavish style started to stick to me. And stick to me they certainly have, with the album's twelfth track, "Don't Stop (And Listen To His Music)", having emerged as my #1 favorite of the batch. The chilled melody, downtempo beat and the singer's breathless vocals are what got to me the instant I'd heard it, soon finding myself attached to the line in the lyrics that goes 'the notes might choke you as they waltz on by'. More than a half a dozen listens to this song later (including again this evening), and I still haven't totally figured out what the song's true meaning is, although I presume it's the songwriter's way of telling a woman not to fall in love with a man who's sending her all kinds of seductive signals. All I need now is a few extended remixes of the song, although my initial research has revealed that the song was originally a B-side track itself and may not be available for me in other formats? "Something We Can Do" was the second I'd gotten hooked to, primarily because of the hook (I love the way his lofty voice goes 'ooooh, there's something we can do') and the sunny, easy-listening melody. Then I'd gotten hooked onto "Casablanca", one of the album's more dramatic productions. I like the way he pronounces the largest city in Morocco as 'ka-suh-BLANK-uh' instead of the way I am customized to saying it: 'ka-suh-BLONK-uh'; must be that British accent. "Circus Ring", I favored, for the same reasons as "Something We Can Do": an excellent hook where the lead singer's vocals are at his strongest. "Burning Flame" eventually go stuck to me as well, and I can see why it was a hit for them back in their heyday. Something in this song—the chords in the main chorus, I suppose—kinda reminds me of the Howard Jones hit, "New Song". Come to think of it, the two artists are somewhat in the same league when it comes to music style; I'd even seen VITAMIN Z being compared to fellow English new wave act ABC, so it makes sense I would make that comparison. Speaking of new wave, the only song on this album that, to me, was pure new wave in terms of sound and delivery is "Hi Hi Friend". The rock element is definitely present, but then there's the distorted manner in which the vocals kinda trail off that adds a texture of quirkiness to the music. Not quirky at all, however, is the beautiful piano piece near the end of the album called "Winds of Change"; it's the best place to enjoy those lovely lofty vocals that have kept me on this VITAMIN Z diet indefinitely:

1. Burning Flame
2. Circus Ring
3. Hi Hi Friend
4. Every Time That I See You
5. Casablanca
6. Angela
7. Anybody Out There?
8. Something We Can Do
9. Burning Flame (Extended Dance Mix)
10. Dancers Of Eve
11. Circus Ring (Remix)
12. Don't Stop (And Listen To His Music)
13. Winds Of Change
14. Burning Flame (Dub Version)

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