Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Amanda Lear - Brand New Love Affair

Less than a month ago I reviewed Amanda Lear's "Brief Encounters" album and clearly riled some fans (if the comments were any indication) by suggesting that it wasn't all that good. In retrospect, I think I was actually quite restrained - particularly when you compare it to the amazing "Brand New Love Affair". Before I get into my review, I should recap the situation for the uninitiated. Both albums were originally part of the same project but subsequently split into separate releases in Italy ("Brief Encounters") and France ("Brand New love Affair"). New tracks were then recorded especially for the latter. As it turns out, the French got the far better deal. "Brand New Love Affair" is easily Amanda's best studio album since the 1980s. It's edgy and contemporary yet completely true to the great diva's disco roots. A lot of love went into this release. There are subtle references to Ms Lear's classic hits and an attention to detail that is absent from the Italian release. Most impressively, "Brand New Love Affair" finally provides Amanda with material worthy of her talent. The three new songs (there are also a couple of covers and remixes) are absolutely stunning and rival anything in the charts. It's not a perfect album (I'll get to that later) but this mini-opus is a real treat for fans and the perfect introduction for newcomers.

"Brand New Love Affair" begins in fine style with the lead single and title track. Written and produced by T1 (Australia's Peter Wilson and Chris Richards), the song is an eccentric electro dance anthem that pays homage to the 70s classic "Follow Me" in its structure and quirky lyrics. Amanda sounds amazing on this and she was born to sing/speak lines like "I'm in the mood for pleasure and sin" in her sultry accent. The production keeps a lid on the camp during the verses before exploding into a fabulous Eurodance chorus. As much as I love "Brand New Love Affair", it is a grower and took me a few listens to get into. It's also probably my least favourite of the new tracks, which just goes to prove how good the others are. Take the next song for example. "Coming Up" is one of the best dance anthems of 2009. T1 have crafted a dark and dirty electro stomper with an insanely catchy chorus and irresistible hook. I hear traces of "Intellectually" from 1979's iconic "Never Trust A Pretty Face" album, which makes the track doubly enjoyable for old school fans. It would be absolutely criminal if this isn't released a single.

After a couple of very contemporary dance tracks, Amanda throws her trashy fans a bone in the form of Hi-NRG dance cover of "I Am What I Am". Every gay icon from Gloria Gaynor to Pia Zadora has interpreted this anthem but none have done it quite like the Queen of Chinatown. This now takes pride of place next to "Love Boat" and "No Credit Card" on my high camp Amanda Lear iTunes playlist. The low brow detour is a lot of fun but the album's real strength lies in its new material and it doesn't get much better than "C'est La Vie". This is probably the most traditional dance-pop song that Amanda has ever recorded as far as structure and lyrical content is concerned but the result stunning. The chorus is pure dynamite and T1's production lifts the track to a whole new level. I also need to give Australia's Susie Ahern a shout out. The 90s dance diva's backing vocals are amazing and give the track an unexpected depth and warmth. The next song is a new ten minute chill out dance remix of "Kiss Me, Honey, Honey, Kiss Me" (a Shirley Bassey cover) from Amanda's 2006 album "With Love". It's nice but slightly disappointing considering what comes before it. I'm not sure who produced it but the sound is also slightly dated.

Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there. I like the remixes of "C'est La Vie" and "Brand New Love Affair" but they don't improve on the originals and the final track "T1 Love Suite" turns out to be an 11 minute medley of those tracks with bits of "I Am What I Am" throw in for good measure. I believe the record company was inspired by 70s disco albums, which contained longer edits of fewer tracks but "Brand New Love Affair" feels unfinished. Two or three additional songs would have fleshed out the project and made it feel less repetitive. T1's sole contribution to "Brief Encounters" (an amazing cover of "Always On My Mind") would have fitted in perfectly here but the good thing about iTunes is the ability to mix and match your own album. Despite the anorexic tracklist, "Brand New Love Affair" is still a triumph. Unlike "Brief Encounters", it proves that Amanda can not only still cut it against today's leading dance divas but surpass them given the right material. The album is released physically in France on the 30th November but will also be available to download internationally from that date. Check out Amanda's Myspace for more details.


123 123 said...

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Craig said...

Where can I hear it?

tommie said...

I'm sure Mike will enjoy russian escort pussy.

Anyway, this sounds much better than Brief Encounters!

Anonymous said...

Cant wait till 30th to compare them!

Mike said...

Yeah the Russian escorts aren't really my thing but I think Amanda's fans will appreciate the link!

Jay said...

Sound clips are here, they're great!!
"I Am What I Am" is very Liza "Losing My Mind".


Anonymous said...

The pop trash addict make me laugh here. is saying always i am close friend of peter wilson in one place then writes this slagging off everything but peter wilson. maybe its peter wilson who writes this its not first time peter has wrote his own interent review lol. its the same on brAnd ne wlove affair aklbum. peter is so good and t1 but anything else is rubbish. i wont look at pop trash addicts review no more. its not fair reveiw to me

Anonymous said...

The review is not only positive so... If it were Pete Wilson, he wouldn't put negative feedback. The review shows what's good and the negative things as well.
Anyway, I like Brand New Love Affair, I've just downloaded it from iTunes. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I don't think the album is worth the money! They're only 8 tracks and 3 tracks are medleys or remixes. So i downloaded the 3 songs that i want: "coming up", " i am what i am" en "brand new love affair". I agree with yoy that is would be a shame if "i'm coming up" has no single release! I like the first single, but it's not the strongest track on the album! On the other hand i'm glad that Amanda made on her age a dance album! "Coming up" is my favourit and has such a dark electronic thing!

Anonymous said...

hello from Italy!
the album is great!
On I-Tunes is:

76 italia dance
64 norway dance


Jay said...

Hi, where can you see the iTunes charts?
What other countries has this charted?

Thanks, Jay

Anonymous said...

Sounds dated, daggy and gag inducing. The mere fact this album was made is a joke. And I'm not suprised at how poorly it has charted in a 'dance' chart in Italy and Norway.

Please please whoever was involved in this production, give it up.

Anonymous said...

It's sad and really quite obvious when personal comments are made.
Go back to your call centre operator job lol.

Anonymous said...

Hi, could anybody please post the lyrics of 'Brand New Love Affair' and 'I'm Coming Up'? Thank you