Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lena Philipsson-Talking In Your Sleep (1988)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: August 18, 2016

Sleep is overrated; once I've had just about enough of it, I consider myself well-rested and get right back up and get busy doing something.....like enjoying some good music, perhaps? A short nap after a revitalizing walk in the park was all I needed to be re-energized and re-focused this evening, and I chose to focus that energy on this latest guilty pop pleasure that comes courtesy of a fellow 80's music lover's request. "Talking In Your Sleep" in the first English studio album by Swedish singer Lena Philipsson; more precisely, it's her first album that features English language tracks, as songs on this album are also recorded in her native Scandinavian tongue. So a bit of a cultural exposition for me in addition to the 80's throwback party I enjoyed the moment the opening title track graced my ears. Of course, me being the ultimate covers song lover, I had assumed initially—in the days before I claimed my copy of this copy—that her recording of "Talking In Your Sleep" would be a pop remake of the memorable hit crafted by THE ROMANTICS back in 1984. Wrong this time, however, but the music is oh so right, as I immediately found the lofty, dreamy air of the music, coupled with Lena's sweet vocals, to be pleasing nonetheless. Interestingly, the lyrics to Lena's version share the same theme as that ROMANTICS favorite: somebody's talking in their sleep and revealing all of the secrets that they keep. Only the alternate arrangement of the beat and the song's cuddly, wrapped-up-in-a-blanket sound make it different. "Ain't It Just The Way" is one of those soft ballads that grows on me and gets nicer and nicer as it moves along.....and one of those that surely would have been 80's soft rock radio perfect. Pop perfect is the follow-up: "The Key". It's jams like these that always make me all giddy and excited about the 80's all over again! The delightful jump in the rhythm is an instant allure, with parts of the arrangement to the chorus reminding me of Madonna's "Where's The Party?". Another interesting coincidence with me bringing Madonna into the discussion, as the lyrics to this song—Lena singing about a man who's got the key to open her heart and unlock her love—are strikingly similar to those heard on Madonna's hit, "Open Your Heart", where the Material Girl sings about herself holding the lock while the man turns the key. Taking a more low-key approach is Lena on the next English offering, "Never Is A Long Time". Despite the peaceful air about this particularly soothing listen, her words of 'no mercy for the aching' offer up a somewhat melancholy message that hints at subtle loneliness. "What Do You Know?": now here's a real 80's pop party nicely wrapped up into a catchy three-and-a-half-minute package! I was caught right off the bat with the backup vocalists delivering the title lyrics in the chorus, then the bouncy, slightly funky beat. "The Key" had been my #1 favorite going into this jam, but by the time those three-and-a-half-minutes were over, "What Do You Know?" slid into first place! Lena' confesses that she's a fool for love on "I'm A Fool", which too becomes irresistibly catchy before long with the way her sweet, almost girly voice rises up on her delivery of 'fool' in the chorus. While she decides that it's time for her to leave and stop being the sucker of the love game on that one, she decides to give that man the ultimate love ultimatum on the concluding cut, "Take It Or Leave It". A perfectly pop-tastic way to end a pop-tastic album, despite the choice she gives of the man staying with her through the night or saying good-bye forever leaving an air of negativity adrift. As for the Swedish language tracks, they're all a fun listen as well, especially "Säg, Säg, Säg", with its perky bounce and sweetly jazzed up backing instrumentals, "I Varje Spegel" and "Sommarnatt"—the latter two whose excellent hooks made me wish that I was at least somewhat fluent in the Swedish language. But not being able to understand the words to these Swedish tracks is not gonna cause me to lose any sleep.....just as I know that the other 80's music lovers out there who had been wanting this "Talking In Your Sleep" album won't be losing any more sleep about it either:

1. Talking In Your Sleep
2. Säg, Säg, Säg
3. Ain't It Just The Way
4. The Key
5. I Varje Spegel
6. Never Is A Long Time
7. Om Igen
8. Sommarnatt
9. Jag Kan, Jag Vill
10. What Do You Know?
11. I'm A Fool
12. Vem Skall Sova Över
13. Take It Or Leave It

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