Thursday, 7 August 2008

Kim Wilde - Never Say Never

‘WE’RE THE KIDS IN AMERICA..WHOAH!’ God, was it really 1981 that blonde-next-door Kim Wilde (nee Smith – no wonder she took her father’s stage name) first burst into our consciousness? Since then we have been treated to some classic teenage pop (‘View from a Bridge’), great covers (‘You Just Keep Me Hanging On’) and some infectious 1980s synth-rock (‘Never Trust a Stranger’) but then it all ran out of steam in the mid-1990s.

In fact it seemed to be all over when she retired to tend her garden – and write a book. But now, following the squillionth ‘Best Of’ compilation release in 2001, Kim Wilde is back – but not in the UK. ‘Oh fame, fame, fickle fame’ quoth the Moz and his words reverberate with meaning for Kim as her 2006 comeback album, ‘Never Say Never’ was released in virtually all European countries and Japan but not in her homeland and it probably won’t be as the UK audience has never really taken to her in the same way that our European cousins did. Her last few recent single releases all charted in various European countries, Germany especially, but if any UK resident actually heard one played in the media, I’d be surprised.

I eventually had to buy a copy of ‘Never Say Never’ imported from Germany to get to hear it and for a woman staring down the barrel of her half-century, it is surprisingly youthful. The opener, ‘Perfect Girl’, is a classic slice of Blondie dance/rock and is certainly no worse than any of Kylie’s last few efforts, so what’s the problem? The album is an aggregation of new material, sounding a bit like Avril Lavigne’s more talented aunt, and re-makes of old material , including a duet with Nena (who is German – good PR move or what?) and a cracking version of 'You Came' which are certainly no worse and in a few cases better than the originals.

The new stuff is generally excellent, real rock-chick guitars and hummable tunes –‘Perfect Girl’ now sits at the top of my iPod playlist - so check out the video at the end of this post. If this is the new (well, older) Kim, I want more!

Final thought. What all this suggests to me in big neon signs is that Kim is a perfect candidate for representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest. Let’s face it, no one is ever going to vote for the UK these days as voting for quality songs is unheard of and has been replaced with political block voting and we have no political allies in Europe at all. Thus we are doomed to come bottom of the pile with Norway every year. So, rather than try to gain a vote for the UK, why not try for a vote for Kim – she’s obviously very popular abroad. Just a thought.

Read more about Kim in my book 'Memoirs of a Music Obsessive'.


Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Wow, I haven't thought of Kim Wilde in years. You really know how to bring back the memories!

I fixed the list to correctly credit the master mind that first recognized Ian and Jimmy :)

musicobsessive said...

I've always had a soft spot for Kim - very underrated imo. I'm so glad that the new stuff is up to standard and that she has done herself justice.

Thanks for the credit - I'm not sure my vanity could stand it :)!!

Lola said...

I bought "Never say never" long time ago and now its even released on USA iTunes & Amazon with 2 bonus (You Came remixes) i think you made a very good point that "Perfect girl" sounds better then any Kylie's single last few years that went Top 5 in UK. "I Fly" & "Game over" are classic Kim Wilde rock -pop songs but twisted in to 21 Century and my favorite track is her Dance # "Forgive me "

musicobsessive said...

Hi Lola - thanks for dropping by. Glad to see that iTunes have picked it up but still no UK release. Unbelievable! It just goes to show how celebrity momentum operates. I think Kylie's last few singles have been very average yet have still sold. Hmm.

Jayne said...

On listening to that song I can't see why it wouldn't be given air time in the UK - it's certainly poppy and catchy enough to be in the charts. Good idea about the European Song Contest - she should do it! We might get a few points, stranger things have happened!

musicobsessive said...

On the other hand, I never felt the same about Sandie Shaw after 'Puppet on a string' so perhaps she'd be as well to stay out of it!

Also, I still rate 'Perfect Girl' - it sure beats gardening!