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Title: The power of love
Source: NME
Publish date: 24 November 1984

CHRISTMAS STOCK IN

FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD:
The Power Of Love (ZTT)

The world is their oyster they boast on the B side and this towering edifice, this state of 1984 pop art (what a state!) sets out to prove how. The Mike Read controversy is mimicked, wrapped up in the intro, a Reagan soundalike recites ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ to a backdrop of heavenly angels, a child’s appeal for a better world heralds the entrance of Holly Johnson’s vocal tour de force.

It is of course The Christmas single, and it has broken boundaries to create an impossibly majestic and luxuriant pomp pop glide. It is brilliant, for the ZTT conglomerate there could have been no other way to end the year, their year.

Every breath, every beat and every tumult is mustered and executed by Trevor Horn and arranger Anne Dudley with an almost painful accuracy. ‘The Power Of Love’ is a huge, shining sound which pierces the heavens, reflecting all else around it, like one of those cold mirrored skyscrapers.

And yet something tells me I hate it. It’s not because I’m wary of puppeteering or was sufficiently put off by the petulant, puerile Christmas cheer on the B side to dismiss this out of hand. In fact it might be just because it is so bloody brilliant, so self absorbed that I hate it. I’d even have preferred the ludicrous Temples Of Gammon assault they give ‘Born To Run’ than this, which seems to have been conceived in such a rarefied air that it immediately dispels all notions of animation, humility, spontaneity. I marvel at the perfection but baulk at the conceit. “Words, what are they? One tear will say more than all of them” says the mad Manchunian, winder-upper on the sleeve. Sad to report, I see no tears on this record.