CD For a Friend: The Best of Bronski Beat, The Communards & Jimmy Somerville (CD 4659738),
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For a Friend: The Best of Bronski Beat, The Communards & Jimmy Somerville
0. DISC 1:
1. Smalltown Boy
3. Ain't Necessarily So
4. I Feel Love
6. Run from Love - (Remix from "Hundreds and Thousands")
7. Hard Rain - (Remix from "Hundreds and Thousands")
8. Don't Leave Me This Way
9. Dolarosa, La
11. So Cold the Night
12. You Are My World
13. Forbidden Love
14. Breadline Britain
16. There's More to Love (Than Boy Meets Girl)
0. DISC 2:
2. For a Friend
3. Never Can Say Goodbye [Freddie Bastone's San Paulo Remix]
4. Comment Te Dire Adieu
5. You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
6. Read My Lips (Enough Is Enough)
8. By Your Side
9. Safe [Todd Terry Short Session]
10. To Love Somebody
11. Lay Down
12. Dark Sky
13. Something to Live For - (Sounds of Life Mix)
14. Can't Take My Eyes off of You
15. Come On
16. Could It Be Love
17. Swet Unknown
18. People Are Strange
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 9767100
Andrew Worboys; Peter Plate; Ulf Leo Sommer; Milan Saje; Gary "Warehouse" Williams; Rob Zi Taylor; Christian Flebbs; Felix J. Gauder; Jimmy Somerville; Mike Thorne; Pascal Gabriel; Shep Pettibone; Ash Howes; Stephen Hague; Todd Terry; Sally Herbert; Chuck Norman
Audio Mixers: David Jacob; Dominick Maita; Milan Saje; Harvey Goldberg; Felix J. Gauder; Shep Pettibone; Stephen Hague; Jeremy Wheatley; Mike Drake.
Audio Remixers: Christian Flebbs; Todd Terry.
Liner Note Author: Eugene Manzi.
With 34 tracks spanning from 1984 their debut single "Smalltown Boy" to his 2009 covers album Suddenly Last Summer, For a Friend: The Best of Bronski Beat, the Communards and Jimmy Somerville is the most extensive and representative of the three all-encompassing retrospectives of the Scottish falsetto-voiced '80s pop icon. A pioneering figure on the gay pop scene for over 25 years, this two-CD collection highlights just how groundbreaking and revolutionary both his uncompromising lyrical themes and Hi-NRG dance-pop sound was. Seven tracks appear from his two-year stint in synth pop trio Bronski Beat, including their anthemic tale of anti-gay prejudice, "Why?," their Marc Almond-featuring medley of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" and John Leyton's "Johnny Remember Me," and two tracks from their remix album, Hundreds and Thousands ("Run from Love" and "Hard Rain"), while 12 inclusions stem from Somerville's two albums recorded with Richard Coles as part of the Communards, including his only chart-topper, a gloriously uplifting cover version of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "Don't Leave Me This Way," and their pulsating, bass-led version of the Jackson 5's "Never Can Say Goodbye." Although the 14 solo tracks included might not be as familiar as his '80s heyday collaborative efforts, the driving melodic pop of "Heartbeat," the AIDS-addressing "Read My Lips (Enough Is Enough)," and the Serge Gainsbourg-sampling "Lay Down" are just as well-crafted examples of polished dance-pop, while 2000s reworkings of the Doors' "People Are Strange" and Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" show he's still capable of providing his own unique, high-pitched take on timeless classics. There are a few notable omissions, such as his reggae-based interpretation of Millie Jackson's "Hurt So Good," one of his biggest solo hits, while the title is slightly misleading considering that nothing from Bronski Beat's two post-Somerville releases make the cut. However, in allowing fans to revisit their '80s disco days while perhaps discovering his lesser-known but equally infectious more contemporary output, For a Friend is still undeniably the most essential compilation of Somerville's esteemed career. ~ Jon O'Brien
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