Title: Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Welcome to the pleasure dome
The art of packaging
FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD: Welcome To The Pleasure Dome (ZTT).
IT’S bound to be number one from here to eternity, but “the event of the decade” it certainly is not.
With a pedigree as perfect as Relax and Two Tribes, this glossily packaged debut album really should have offered more.
The singles were exciting and vibrant, but the band never warranted the notoriety their BBC ban attracted.
And there was nothing particularly stunning about the Two Tribes message.
Music aside, it was a simplistic and inelegant statement of the obvious. Protest songs were around long before Frankie went anywhere.
What Frankie says really isn’t very important but it looks like the band have been taking too much notice of their own publicity.
The package is as pretentious as it is pretty, with an opening statement: “Since pleasure is the Unique, to reveal Pleasure is itself a unique duty”; and an epitaph about the “moral and spiritual crisis” confronting modern man.
Credit — Inspirational, presumably — goes to everyone from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to Oscar Wilde and Lewis Carroll, and everything from Marks and Spencer to Benson and Hedges.
But enough of the wrapping. What of the contents?
More of the same. A ponderous build-up to an epic, title track on side one, and then overleaf to Relax, War and Two Tribes.
Nothing new or particularly important yet, and if you’ve got the singles you’ve heard it all before.
On to side three and a medley of dead straight cover versions Ferry Cross the Mersey (nice nostalgia value but hardly innovative), Born To Run (quite presentable but its faithfulness to the original only serves to emphasise the futility), and a mushy MOR version of Do You Know The Way to San Jose.
Finally to side four and some new material. There are four tracks Krisko Kisses, Black Night White Light, The Only Star in Heaven and Power of Love — all immaculately produced by Trevor Horn. And at last there’s the overdue injection of originality that rescues the album from rip-off rating.
It all endes with the big Bang, and to commemorate our unswerving devotion to these new prophets ZTT is offering sweatshirts at £24.99, T-shirts at £7.99 and other overpriced paraphernalia all bearing the Bang motif.
Bang, as the sleeve notes explain, is “an exclusive piece of ZTT exploitation.” Their words, not mine.