A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘annie lennox

[MUSIC] Annie Lennox, Diva

A Eurythmics fan group on Facebook just reminded me that today, the 6th of April, is the 25th anniversary of the release of Annie Lennox’s solo debut, Diva.

Wow.

Much of the video album, directed by long-time collaborator Sophie Muller who was also responsible for the exquisite 1986 Savage video album, is viewable here. I blogged about one track from Diva, “Little Bird”, back in 2008. A lot of the tracks–“Why?”, “Walking on Broken Glass”, “Legend in my Living Room”, all of them really–deserve extended commentaries of their own.

What can I say about Diva but that this album is one of the highlights of the career of an artist who has been hugely influential in my life? Without seeing “No More I Love Yous” on MuchMusic back in 1995, I can imagine that I might have gone into the sciences rather than the arts. Lennox’s music has been a constant throughout my life, with its art and its poise and its personality. My life is much the better for having had it.

Thanks, Annie.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 6, 2017 at 10:57 pm

[MUSIC] Annie Lennox, “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye”

This Thursday, a [MUSIC] day, also happens to be World AIDS Day. My song choice was inevitable.

I blogged Annie Lennox’s cover of the Cole Porter song “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” back in January 2009. This cover, taken from the 1990 AIDS fundraising album Red Hot + Blue, is perhaps her most beautiful song. The sound of her full voice against the sparse piano and Paris cafe accordion sends chills down my spine. She evokes love and loss–of the epidemic, of the human condition in general–so superbly here she could make me cry.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 1, 2016 at 10:59 pm

[MUSIC] Eurythmics, “Julia”

The song “Julia”, coming off of the Eurythmics’ soundtrack album 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother), is a song of chill poetic majesty.

When the leaves turn from green to brown
And autumn shades come tumbling down
(Julia)
To leave a carpet on the ground
Where we have laid

(Julia)
When winter leaves her branches bare
And icy breezes chill the air
(Oh Julia)
The freezing snow lies everywhere
My darling, will we still be there?
(Oh Julia)

Written by Randy McDonald

September 4, 2015 at 3:59 am

[MUSIC] “Annie Lennox says her songwriting days are over”

The Scotsman‘s Brian Ferguson reports.

Thank you, Annie, for the music you wrote.

Annie Lennox, one of Scotland’s most ground-breaking musicians, has revealed that her songwriting days are over.

The Aberdeen-born singer, who has sold more than 80 million albums since her breakthrough with Eurythmics more than 30 years ago, has called time just months after being honoured by her industry peers.

Lennox, whose last album of original material was released eight years ago, said she now regarded her songwriting as being “in the past tense”.

She has spoken of the pressures involved in retaining a passion for the music industry, saying: “I need to feel I have a purpose in life that’s more than just having a job.”

[. . .]

She said: “Songwriting has been a deep, deep passion for me. I needed it because I was tuned into it. I was deeply committed to that whole way of life.

“But there’s a lot of sacrifice in it, as a woman specifically. It’s a hardcore lifestyle and it’s not for everybody.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 25, 2015 at 10:28 pm

[MUSIC] Annie Lennox and The Blue Nile, “The Downtown Lights”

I mentioned The Blue Nile’s 1989 song “The Downtown Lights”, off of the group’s lauded 1989 Hats, back in August of 2008. I’d actually first heard the song in 1995, when I bought Annie Lennox’s covers album Medusa.

Medusa is more of an uneven album than I thought on first listen, but Lennox’s version of song definitely holds up on re-listening two decades later. I suspect this might be because Lennox and The Blue Nile’s songwriter Paul Buchanan share the same ethos, of the careful construction of quietly passionate songs. Back in 2008, I was struck by this lyric:

Tonight and every night
Let’s go walking down this empty street
Let’s walk in the cool evening light
Wrong or right
Be at my side
The downtown lights

I was in love, then.

Now, it’s the final monologue, about the dead ends of city life and hopes dashed, that gets me.

The neon’s and the cigarettes
Rented rooms and rented cars
The crowded streets, the empty bars
Chimney tops and trumpets

The golden lights, the loving prayers
The colored shoes, the empty trains
I’m tired of crying on the stairs
The downtown lights
Yeah, yeah
</blockquote

Written by Randy McDonald

July 24, 2015 at 1:56 am

[PHOTO] Cover of Eurythmics’ 1983 album Touch, recreated by Michael Venus for Nuit Rose

The cover of the Eurythmics’ 1983 album Touch is iconic, featuring Annie Lennox in her short dyed orange hair, wearing a leather face mask and flexing her muscles.

For Nuit Rose, Michael Venus recreated the cover as part of his winning “Icons and Demigods” project.

Cover of Eurythmics' 1983 album Touch, recreated by Michael Venus for Nuit Rose

He did many more album covers, as the below photo hints at.

100_2197

Written by Randy McDonald

June 27, 2014 at 4:50 pm

[BRIEF NOTE] On doing drag on Pride

Well, not real drag in the sense of adopting another gender. But I was inspired by a Facebooker’s comment on the video of a Eurythmics song being drag did inspire me to try something new.

Jerry took the below picture of me in full uniform.

Randy Pride 2011

Below, in lower webcam resolution, is the hat. You can see the rainbow-coloured lei wrapped around the top here.

My Pride hat

A couple of weeks ago, I posted the official video of the 1987 Eurythmics song “”Beethoven (I Love to Listen To)” to my Facebook account.

Let me quote Wikipedia’s description of the video.

As the first part of this loose narrative, the “Beethoven” video begins with Lennox portraying a repressed, middle-class housewife, knitting in her apartment. She exhibits characteristics of obsessive-compulsive disorder through her habitual cleaning and chopping of vegetables. The video also includes a mischievous little girl who has blonde hair, and a man who is wearing make-up and an evening gown, neither of whom are directly noticed by the housewife even though they are in her living room with her. These characters are seemingly components of a new character that the dowdy housewife becomes as she has a nervous breakdown and transforms herself into a blonde, overtly sexual vixen. In this new extroverted persona, she then trashes the apartment that, as a housewife, she meticulously kept clean. The video ends with her walking out into the street laughing.

One commenter, Jonathan, said that this video showed Annie Lennox in drag. It was a special type of drag, though. She was not impersonating a gender different from her biological sex, not impersonating a male (though she has done that on ome occasions); rather, she adopted in the video a model of gendered behaviour, that of an entirely conventional housewife doing the sorts of entirely conventional things that inspired Betty Friedan to write about the housewife’s despair, that Lennox has never adopted in her public persona. It’s somewhat subversive of her image, her audience knows this, and they expect it to collapse.

That got me to thinking. I normally dress fairly conservatively and unimaginatively. (Tell me if I’m wrong, people!) Pride is a time when people step outside the norm and doing something … extravagant. Even over the top.

All I’ll say I that I love inexpensive costume shops.

Subversion can be so fun.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 4, 2011 at 11:59 pm