Music Reviews

Boy George

A Night Out With Boy George


Boy George’s liner notes proudly proclaim his intention that this should be as un-corporate a collection as possible – and it’s true you’re not going to find as much Underworld or Moby here as you might on one of Arista’s Totally Dance! compilations. Not that there’s anything wrong with those boys’ music, but as George also says, “If you look to the dance charts or the pop charts for inspiration, you get what you deserve.” And by the way, only an extremely tired (and tiresome) person would rejoinder, “especially in 1984, eh George?,” so if you were thinking that, shame on you.

Possessed of an undeniably soulful voice, for a year or two in the ’80s Boy George & Culture Club cornered the market on lightweight hits that sounded like they were made out of colored construction paper. Following this, he got himself involved with heroin, broke up with it, had a couple of hit singles on either side of the Atlantic, and wrote his autobiography (the delightfully bitchy Take It Like a Man). He also started working as a DJ again, as he had when he was a teenager, and has released a handful of mix albums, of which this is the latest.

All that said (whew!), there’s some fun stuff here, and who could ask for anything more? (forgive me, I’ve been reading Gershwin).

Arcade sound effects and computer-deepened voices can be heard throughout, but like most club/dance compilations, there’s not much in the way of distinctive artistry. The art is supposed to be in the DJ, who mixes the ingredients together in much the same way as a chef bakes a cake. There should be enough variety of tone to sustain interest, but enough consistency as not to jar.

The flow is fine; this is animotional electronic dance music of the kind that BG “likes to have in his box,” including his own collaboration with Dark Globe, “Auto-Erotic.” “Silence” is another highlight, or perhaps I should say highdark, as the singers names – Dark ‘N’ Lovely – make for a good description of this record.

This is not generic dance, whatever else it may be, but at the same time a lot of dance music does tend to sound the same. The Sound of the Floor is all about Big Groovy Fuckers (to name-check another couple of records included here), and the name of the game is motion. “Give Me a Sign,” by Treatment either features the former lead singer of EMF or one hell of an unbelievable sound-alike. “Stolen The Sun” starts out sounding like typically relentless dance music, but sweeps into a trancey feature for guitar (or samples of same, it’s so hard to tell these days) and synth.

Nation moved, the compilation is passed. Next case.

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