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Pop - Released January 1, 1986 | London Music Stream

Despite the inability of the music to live up to the high standards of Jimmy Somerville's ridiculously skilled falsetto voice, the Communards' first album achieved platinum status in several countries. Somerville's spirited duet with Sarah Jane Morris on a cover of Thelma Houston's "Don't Leave Me This Way" helped push the record into the Top Ten on the U.K. charts, and a decent blend of other dancefloor fillers with Richard Coles-centric piano ballads lends variety for the ears that can't take a full album's worth of dance music. Both "Breadline Britain" and "Reprise" continue Somerville's activist ideals; the latter has to be one of the sharpest dissections of Margaret Thatcher. Compared to the following Red, much of the duo's self-titled debut sounds flat, lacking punch -- all the more surprising from a Mike Thorne (Wire, Marc Almond) production. [The remastered version adds a lengthy mix of "Don't Leave Me This Way."] © Andy Kellman /TiVo

Pop - Released January 1, 1987 | London Music Stream

Opting to have Pet Shop Boys and New Order producer Stephen Hague lend his skills to half of their second record proved to be a smart move for Jimmy Somerville and Richard Coles. Red tops their respectable debut in nearly every aspect. Increasingly melodic, increasingly polished, and increasingly tight, the front-to-back strong album is a defining Euro-dance record of the latter half of the '80s. The re-working this record is based around is Gloria Gaynor's version of "Never Can Say Goodbye," which stands apart from any other recorded rendition thanks to Somerville's distinct vocals. Again, the poppy disco is broken up by the occasional piano workout, and Somerville continues to bounce around with differing lyrical subjects, including the gripping "For a Friend," written for an AIDS victim close to him and Coles. The two other singles from the record, "Tomorrow" and "There's More to Love Than Boy Meets Girl," are stronger than anything on the debut. © Andy Kellman /TiVo