Released sandwiched between extensive Erasure touring, this album is full of some of most perfect pop songs ever recorded. The album could hardly begin any better than with Rain, an amazing passionate dance classic which was worthy of much more than to be an obscure EP ineligible for the UK charts. A wonderfully executed vocal performance over a perfect disco melody makes this one of Erasure's finest triumphs. Despite the marvel of Rain, it is followed by another storming track in Worlds On Fire. Whilst lyrically a tad unadventurous, the lyrical melodies (and beautiful backing vocals in the chorus), along with one of Vince's most intriguing and unique sounding musical arrangements come together to produce a fabulous track.
Now this is more like it. If there is one band that defines world pop music then it's got to be Erasure. From the disco ballads of 'Rain' and 'Worlds On Fire' to the camp joy that is 'Save Me Darling', Erasure prove the secret to making loads of great albums, is to write loads of great songs.Sunday Mirror
Reach Out is a strong Erasure song, one that took a little while for me to fully appreciate. Another up-tempo beat once more provides Andy with the platform to do what he does best, helped by fine backing vocals from Andy Caine and Paul Williams. In My Arms is a wonderful Erasure ballad; a worthy single, it deserved the relative success it achieved Stateside. A beautiful, understated song, apparently inspired vocally as an apology for cheating on a partner, the song's excellent soft melody and slick production makes this song one of Erasure's best. Don't Say Your Love Is Killing Me is one of the few anomalies in this album. An over-long title detracts some credibility and it was a poor choice as Cowboy's second single. Despite the occasional silliness in the vocals, the powerful melody not only salvages this song, it actually makes it one that's hard to dislike in any meaningful way.
Precious is also no classic and is possibly the weakest track on this extremely strong album. There is little wrong with it; it has another fine backing from Vince and Andy's lyrics are romantic and dreamy but it lacks the punch and infectious nature evident in many of the other Cowboy tracks. Treasure completes the tiny mid-album dip of slightly less-than-great songs, but with its interesting imagery, computerised voices and another fine performance from Andy it is by no means a poor song. The production by Gareth Jones and Neil McLellan, as with all the album is of the highest standard, with that polished discoy feel found in most tracks. Boy is another wonderful Erasure track, complimented by a superbly potent chorus and layered arrangement. This is another song that can so easily fill your head leaving you humming it all day. This would have made an excellent single, as would have How Can I Say. Similar in style to Boy, it possesses all its strengths with Andy once again excelling himself vocally, especially throughout the chorus. Vince delivers another sharp, professional arrangement which makes this another great Erasure effort.
With so many strong songs it is hard to choose the best, but arguably Save Me Darling is Cowboy's optimum. An arrangement of shear genius once again intrinsically linked with Andy's mind-blowing, powerful vocals, this song deserves a place in anybody's music collection. Some wonderful lyrics merely add weight to the claims as this as one of Erasure's finest ever tracks. The album concludes with the mandatory ballad, in this case Love Affair. Another fine and emotive track to conclude this album, which remains my all-time favourite.
American versions of the album include a cover version of Magic Moments, which is a pleasant rendition of song but musically would be more at home on the I Say I Say I Say album. The limited edition CD is also home to another cover version, this time Blondie's Rapture. Whilst this cover is a bit of fun (worth hearing for Vince's rap alone), it is b-side fodder and is nowhere near the high quality of the rest of the album.
Although not over popular generally amongst fans, I regard this as Erasure's finest hour, at least as albums go. Some argue it is too commercial and unexperimental, but I feel Andy and Vince hit the nail on the head as far as perfect song writing goes. With superb production, melodic and vocal performances, the album deserved to be enjoyed on a wider scale than it was. Mute must take some blame for this album's relative failure, with so many possible hits on this album only two genuine singles were released, and Don't Say Your Love Is Killing Me was not a good choice. However the musical climate was now heavily entrenched in dreary Britpop and unable to complete with the Zeitgeist this album ultimately proved to be Erasure's second consecutive album flop.
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