Welcome to the Pleasuredomeby Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Strip away all the hype, controversy, and attendant craziness surrounding Frankie -- most of which never reached American shores, though the equally bombastic "Relax" and "Two Tribes" both charted well -- and Welcome to the Pleasuredome holds up as an outrageously over-the-top, bizarre, but fun release. Less well known but worthwhile cuts include by-definition-camp "Krisco Kisses" and "The Only Star in Heaven," while U.K. smash "The Power of Love" is a gloriously insincere but still great hyper-ballad with strings from Anne Dudley. In truth, the album's more a testament to Trevor Horn's production skills than anything else. To help out, he roped in a slew of Ian Dury's backing musicians to provide the music, along with a guest appearance from his fellow Yes veteran Steve Howe on acoustic guitar that probably had prog rock fanatics collapsing in apoplexy. The end result was catchy, consciously modern -- almost to a fault -- arena-level synth rock of the early '80s that holds up just fine today, as much an endlessly listenable product of its times as the Chinn/Chapman string of glam rock hits from the early '70s. Certainly the endless series of pronouncements from a Ronald Reagan impersonator throughout automatically date the album while lending it a giddy extra layer of appeal. Even the series of covers on the album at once make no sense and plenty of it all at once. While Edwin Starr's "War" didn't need redoing, Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" becomes a ridiculously over-the-top explosion that even outrocks the Boss. As the only member of the band actually doing anything the whole time (Paul Rutherford pipes up on backing vocals here and there), Holly Johnson needs to make a mark and does so with appropriately leering passion. He didn't quite turn out to be the new Freddie Mercury, but he makes a much better claim than most, combining a punk sneer with an ear for hyper-dramatic yelps.
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Performance CreditsFrankie Goes to Hollywood Primary Artist
Paul Rutherford Vocals,Group Member
Holly Johnson Vocals,Group Member
Peter Gill Drums,Group Member
Brian Nash Guitar,Group Member
Mark O'Toole Bass,Vocals,Group Member
Technical CreditsTrevor Horn Producer
Stephen Lipson Engineer
Stuart "Blushing" Bruce Engineer
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Heavy backbeats, obtuse random sounds that appear to have no cohesion at first... These are the first three tracks and IMO, way ahead of their time. Frankie goes to Hollywood would fit in a club or rave today better than it did when it was released. As art, they take me to the same place that Jane's Addicions "3 Days" did. Parts of the album are beyond pop and run into modern classical. I wish the entire album was a good as 6 or 7 of the tracks but you can't have it all. Either way, don't listen to me. Try it out yourself.
In 1985, this was the only band since The Who to have their performance stopped at Grady Gammage auditorium in Tempe, Arizona because the crowd was rocking out SO hard that it threatened the structural integrity of the building - need I say more? With a proper system, you can lean against the thundering bass lines - the better to free your limbs for waving wildly to the other progressive aspects of the tunes. This goes way beyond classifications like, "dance," "techno," or "eighties." If it weren't so lame to say, it would fall into some sort of "up with people" category because it just makes you feel so good. A lot of sexual energy on this one, and if you get queasy around issues of homosexuality, this is not for you. These boys were VERY out of the armoir. But the energy is not confined to a particular orientation any more than the music is confined to genre. Also includes the only Bruce Springsteen cover worthy of the vinyl.