Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wilde times revisited

I've always had a soft spot for Kim Wilde. She's had an odd trajectory for a pop career. She has flitted through different styles, more than occasionally landing on solid gold. Some of her best efforts received little fanfare in her homeland while becoming wildly (pardon the pun) successful in other parts of the world.

Of course, a certain Ms. Ciccone would continually raise the bar for female stars of the pop variety. This provided a challenge for Kim in order to avoid comparisons in the middle of the Madonna zeitgeist.

After three moderately successful elpees and eight chart singles with RAK, Kim Wilde moved over to MCA. She resided there for the remainder of her career through the 80s and 90s with varying degrees of success.

Now, after reissuing her self-titled debut, sophomore longplayer, "Select" and fan favorite, "Catch As Catch Can", with a lorry load of bonus tracks, Cherry Red are turning their attention to Kim's first two MCA releases, "Teases & Dares" and "Another Step".

In 1984, "Teases & Dares" was released to muted response. This was Kim's fourth album in as many years. The image on the sleeve was more Barbarella than new wave beauty. Even after three singles, of which only one cracked the top 20, Kim, along with her brother, Ricky, who penned many of her hits, went back to the drawing board. Still, "Teases & Dares" performed marginally better than her final RAK release.

"The Second Time" was the first single from her MCA debut. It was retitled "Go For It" for US consumption. I remember buying the single after seeing the video for it on MTV. I remember it sounding apocalyptic at the time.



Unfortunately, it barely scraped into the top 30 in her homeland. But it turned out to be one of her biggest hits in Germany. A territory that would be good to Kim many times over the years.

Second single, "The Touch", suffered a worse fate by not even cracking the top 50 in the UK. I've never seen the video for it until this day. I can certainly see why this disco Cinderella adventure, complete with drag queens as evil stepsisters, never helped the song's chart run.



The rockabilly thump of third single, "Rage To Love", restored her chart fortunes and peaked at a respectable #19 while failing to crack the top 40 in Germany. This is a clear example of how some singles perform better in some countries while sinking without a trace in others.



The double CD, remastered reissue of "Teases & Dares" will be available through all fine "shops" and online retailers from July 19. The full tracklisting, complete with single versions, non-album b-sides and remixes, is as follows:

CD 1

Original album:

1. The Touch
2. Is It Over
3. Suburbs Of Moscow
4. Fit In
5. Rage To Love
6. The Second Time
7. Bladerunner
8. Janine
9. Shangri-La
10. Thought It Was Goodbye

B-sides, single versions and bonus recordings:

11. Lovers On A Beach
12. Shangri-La (Alternative Version)
13. Putty In Your Hands
14. Turn It On
15. The Second Time (7" Version)
16. The Touch (7" Version)
17. Rage To Love (7" Version)


CD 2

Remixes:

1. The Second Time (12" Version)
2. Lovers On A Beach (12" Version)
3. Go For It (Extended Dance Version)
4. The Touch (12" Version)
5. Shangri-La (12" Version)
6. Go For It (Dub Version)
7. Rage To Love (12" Version)
8. Shangri-La (Special Remix)
9. The Second Time (US Remix)

Kim returned to the studio in 1985, had a bit of rethink and plotted her next move with her brother. By 1986, she was ready to unleash a more dance oriented direction. The result was "Another Step".

The first single from Kim's fifth elpee was "Schoolgirl" which didn't get released in the UK. It didn't perform particularly well in Germany. It limped into the top 40 and peaked at #38. Check out her Madonna moment around the 2.25 mark.



"Schoolgirl" did decent enough business to build up into what everyone felt was the breakthrough moment for KW.

In September 1986, Kim's cover of "You Keep Me Hangin' On", one of The Supremes' many signature tunes, rocketed to the #2 position in the UK and did one better in the US the following year, becoming her only #1 hit. It sounded bang up to date which had a lot to do with the production bearing more than a passing resemblance to the popular sound of many Stock Aitken Waterman pop concoctions.



She followed "YKMHO" with "Another Step (Closer To You)", a duet with Junior who had a hit six years earlier with "Mama Used To Say".



Surprisingly, Kim wasn't able to follow up her US success. "Say You Really Want Me" fell four positions short of the top 40. In the UK, it was the third single which crept to #29.



Oddly enough, from a chart perspective, "Another Step" did not perform better than "Teases & Dares". However, it was the perfect set up for "Close", her biggest UK success which took her into the top 10 of the album chart and gave her a trio of top 10 singles - "You Came", "Never Trust A Stranger" and "Four Letter Word". Let's hope Cherry Red give "Close" the reissue treatment shortly.

In the meantime, they've given "Another Step" a good dusting down. It has been plumped up with tons of bonus tracks including no less than EIGHT versions of "Say You Really Want Me".

CD 1

Original album:

1. You Keep Me Hangin' On
2. Hit Him
3. Another Step (Closer To You)
4. The Thrill Of It
5. I've Got So Much Love
6. Victim
7. Schoolgirl
8. Say You Really Want Me
9. She Hasn't Got Time For You
10. Brothers
11. Missing
12. How Do You Want My Love
13. Don't Say Nothing's Changed

Single versions and b-sides:

14. Songs About Love
15. Loving You
16. Hold Back
17. Another Step (Closer To You) (7" Version)
18. Say You Really Want Me (7" Version)


CD 2

Remixes:

1. Schoolgirl (Head Master Mix)
2. You Keep Me Hangin' On (W.C.H. Club Mix)
3. You Keep Me Hangin' On (W.C.H. Mix)
4. Another Step (Closer To You) (Extended Mix)
5. Say You Really Want Me (Extended Version)
6. Say You Really Want Me (The Video Remix)
7. Say You Really Want Me (David Todd Remix)
8. Say You Really Want Me (Radio Edit)
9. Say You Really Want Me (Instrumental)
10. Say You Really Want Me (CHR Version)
11. Say You Really Want Me (Urban Version)
12. Megamix

It has taken more than 20 years for these albums, along with Kim's first three longplayers, to finally get a brushing up. Each one is filled with spectacularly sparkling pop moments worthy of your attention, as well as inclusion in your collection.

11 comments:

  1. I love that you bought the single for "Go For It" back in the day. I always wondered if Mtv ever played any of her videos back then. I think "The Touch" is still one of my favorite KW tracks, shame about the video! Can't wait for both of these reissues, though.

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  2. I am most familiar with the third album and had it played a lot in my house while i was growing up so buying it again is definitely an option. then of course came my fave album of hers (I believe it was next?) - the one with you came and four letter word on? Brillo!

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  3. Hi I'm John Paul Nice in France, I am a big fan of Kim and my blog is for it
    . I have all his CDs but I also ordered two editions on Amazon UK.
    Thank you for this beautiful article and if you want, you can even put a comment on my blog in English, good day JP.M

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  4. Hmm, that was interesting to read!
    Kim has done some real tripe over the years, but she somehow sparkles nonetheless, Select is a favourite album of mine. Something sparkles there. I think it is called "youth"...:)

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  5. I had to take a pass on Kim Wilde, back in the day. There was just something naff about her. The fact that a pouty blonde faux-Bardot was fronting for her dad and brother seemed, well, unseemly. That she had far too many intellectuals* who should have known better, wrapped around her finger only served to increase my distaste. It was easy to pass on the dorky "Kids In America" but I'll admit that the urgency of "Chequered Love" almost caught my ear. Then I didn't hear anything further until her pallid cover of "You Keep Me Hanging On" which really suffered following Colourbox's much more vibrant version, and hell, even Bernie Nolan & BEF's version in 1981 on "Music of Quality & Distinction vol. 1."

    It wasn't until I bought the Razormaid's "Best of the Test Series" boxed set in 1992 that I heard later Kim Wilde material and I have to admit, the mixes of "You Came/Stone" almost made me pick up a cutout** of "Close" when it hit the bins at Camelot... but not quite. While I have no qualms about prefab pop, it's a hit and miss subject with me. And Kim Wilde just kept missing the target; sometime closely, but that only counts in horse shoes. The Razormaid sets still contain the only Kim Wilde in my collection, and I'm fine with that.


    * I'm talking to you, Paul Morley!

    By the way, whatever happened to cutouts? As a cheapskate music collector, they were a great way to stretch my buying dollar. I have fond recollections of stores with cutout bins packed with import vinyl far more exciting than most record stores stocked period. The Camelot chain (when it existed) was the last place where I can remember seeing cutouts of CD material back in the early-mid 90s. Vinny, you worked in the business, and by that of course I mean the industry... what happened? Titles must be being deleted, probably at an insane rate today. But has the practice of dumping cutouts died along with the industry? They seemed to disappear a good 5-6 years in advance of the end years (ca 2001 +).

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  6. Technically speaking, Kim was signed to RAK. When EMI bought RAK, effectively closing it down, Kim signed to MCA.

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  7. @Anonymous - Technically, you are correct. Kim was signed to RAK. However, it hasn't been clear as to the timeframe of EMI's involvement and subsequent purchase. Even when I ran the catalog department at EMI, nobody could agree on which contract the RAK repertoire fell under. So, I used EMI for the sake of not having to explain.

    But here I am explaining it! Therefore, I amended this entry to reflect RAK rather than EMI. Thanks for the input!

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  8. Thanks for great intro to Kim Wilde. I have to add one very small correction -Kids in America (is one of the most successful singles coming out from 80's) in Europe, sold around 2million copys, but also she had another Platinum single Cambodia
    I agree with you T&D could ve done so much better, i think its because had that cold-synth sound didn't appeal to many people..The album itself was a bit dark, even though had few uptempo songs. I Love "The Touch" i can not believe that song didn't do well, (video was a bit disapointing).
    when i saw Kim Wilde for the first time on MTV -or one of those Music tel, i went to school and every -boy or a girl was talking about Kim, i think most of people were just so mezmorized by Kim's looks. At that time it was even funny to compare Kim Wilde looks with Madonna, as if most people preffered Kim. Did u notice in video "Go 4 it" the camera comes so close -and closer it gets better she looks, i don't think i have ever seen a face better that came out from 80's -she was something else.
    I think Media paid a lot of attention to her looks and kinda neglected her music. She managed to score a lot of hits -but she failed quite few times with actually very good singles.
    Overall -> i think Kim had fantastic music career with her own words when she said "I had a fantastic career, i wasn't coucous because its not as big as so and so's or as small, it was Mine -it was just what i wanted"
    She never wanted to the in the cirlce of Michael Jackson -level as she saw in her 1988 Close -when MJ asked Kim to tour with him, they end up Touring for 4 months, Kim got very disapointed in that hight level of fame.
    But she managed to survive -cause she still is performing in very big festivals, she tours a lot, and she is going to be releasing a new album the end of this summer call "Come out and play"

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  9. Hello everyone, I got both albums reissued yesterday morning waouuuu the bomb!
    I'm really pleased and not disappointed on the contrary.
    "Come Out and Play" by envente cons will end August but only for Germany, Austria and Switzerlandthe rest later.
    Cheers, jpaul ...

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  10. So, my deluxe Another Step arrived today and I'm playing it and playing it again. (It came packaged with Goldfrapp's Head First, so it'll be interesting to hear that for the first time, alongside Kim.)

    Now, I can't wait to see if Close gets the deluxe reissue treatment - I'd love it to. But, first, a question: Is it Close as in 'close the door' or as in 'close to you'?

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  11. @Jams - Sounds like you're having a synthy good day!

    As for the title of "Close", I've always known it to be the latter with the soft s.

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