JIMMY SOMMERVILLE I met Jimmy back in 1991 at the Famous Gay Club, 'Daisy Chain' in London, backstage. What a genius!
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REVIEW:JIMMY SOMERVILLE: Manage the Damage by Billy Tweedie Working with cowriter and coproducer Sally Herbert, Somerville has crafted a fine dance-pop album. There aren't any big surprises lurking within these 11 tracks, just a batch of tasteful arrangements and nuanced production accompanying Somerville's unfaltering falsetto. "Something to Live For" opens with a pop-ballad intro, but soon shifts gears into an uptempo, affirmative dance track tinged with melancholy. The song's attitude and vibe recall '70s disco classics like Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive." Manage the Damage's high point is the masterful pop gem "This Must Be Love," in which Somerville's relaxed singing is propelled by a trip-hop undertow and then a swooning bridge blossoms into a lovely chorus that's both dreamy and irresistibly catchy. The disc's last tune, "Rolling," features floating strings buoyed by a hypnotic bass line. The accompaniment nicely supports Somerville's vocals on this well-chosen closer. What can I say, he was the soundtrack of my youth and it's great having a new album of material. The tracks range from decent to great which is a better average then the recent Pet Shop Boys album or anything released by Boy George in the last decade. But Jimmy, hook up with better mixers! Get to New York and work with new blood! Stop being so English, would ya?! The superb CD includes several tracks that continue his love/talent for the disco/dance anthem ("Something to Live For" or "Stone", for example) and the bellowing of the first track ("Here I Am") is reminiscent of the best of Bronski Beat. However, what I found best were those tracks where Somerville updates his sound by successfully delving into more recent styles (dabbling in trip-hop and techno) such as on the recriminating "Dark Sky" or especially on the melodiously catchy "This Must Be Love" (great single!). Other favorites are "Someday Soon" and "Rolling". This is a welcome addition to Somerville's talented career. What I like just as much as Sommerville's voice is that this album has the sound of something that won't grow immediately stale, and it's great finding a CD I can listen to all the way through without skipping tracks. Lush, dramatic and beautiful pop album. Jimmy's distinctive voice is very strong. Vocal arrangements and lyrics sound more confident than ever. He has definitely carved out a niche for himself apart from Bronski Beat and the Communards. Fans of good pop albums will enjoy this release. On a footnote here Jimmy if you are reading, we met backstage at the Daisy Chain in London, and I wanna know, did you ever leave that Frank Sinatra look-a-like alone? ©2002 BILLY TWEEDIE