Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, Rock
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A True Diva - and a True Diva Performance
L.A. Scene | Indian Trail, NC USA | 06/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Laura Branigan's "Self Control" marked the third studio album and by far is the best effort she put together. Laura's first two albums showed all the signs of her being great with such hits as "Gloria", "Solitaire", and "How am I Supposed to Live Without You". Branigan on this collection "puts it all together". "Self Control" was released in the Spring of 1984. Since 1984 was such as huge year for the music industry, "Self Control" often gets forgotten about. This album was a Platinum Album and did very well commercially. It definitely marked the peak of Branigan's career both commercially and creatively. Laura Branigan is not a songwriter and is not someone who plays her own instruments. Branigan relies on her voice - which is as powerful as any female vocalist we have seen in the rock/pop era. Today the term "Diva" is used to refer to a great female vocalist. Although Branigan isn't the commercial draw that she was earlier in her career, if there is any female vocalist deserving of the term Diva - it is Branigan. This album backs up Branigan's "Diva" status and establishes her as a great vocalist.There are other reasons why "Self Control" is such a great album. For starters, it has some great songwriters. Two of the most noteworthy songwriters on the album are Giancarlo Bigazzi and Diane Warren. Bigazzi is best known for authoring Branigan's debut single "Gloria" back in 1982. He returns on this album and is one of the authors behind the outstanding title track "Self Control". Diane Warren is as big a name in the songwriting business as any. Warren co-penned three songs "Satisfaction", "Silent Partners", and "Breaking Out". Bigazzi and Warren also co-write one song - the romantic mantra, "Ti Amo". There are other authors too and they do just as well to bring a high quality of song for this album. This album also has some great production forces behind it as well. The two names most noteworthy are Harold Faltermeyer and Robbie Buchanan. Faltermeyer is most known for his synthesizers. He is the musician behind the song "Axel F" from the Beverly Hills Cop Soundtrack. In addition to contributing synthesizers on this album, Faltermeyer serves as engineer and arranger. Robbie Buchanan is a guitarist who worked with Branigan on "Branigan 2". Buchanan is the arranger/producer for "Self Control" in addition to guitarist.Self Control has a very 80s feel to it. This is largely due to the use of the synthesizers on the album. This is as good as it got in the 80s and it is what made this album great. Top to bottom this album has some great songs. Here is a quick summary:"The Lucky One" - This was a Top 20 single and I'm surprised it didn't go further. Laura establishes the Diva vocals right away and give us a taste of what is to come on the album. The 80s sound is alive and well with some of the computer generated voices toward the end that sing "The Lucky One""Self Control" - Just a great song and the biggest hit on the album (Top 5). It had a great video too that proved Laura could be a video star as well as a vocalist. In addition to being a catchy song, it has some great lyrics. Score one for Bigazzi here."Ti Amo" - This was a big hit outside the U.S. and I'm surprised it didn't score bigger here. The best way to sum this is a "romantic mantra". Not only does Branigan pull the mantra lyrics off well, she shows great range, and most importantly a real passion and emotion. I feel its this passion and emotion that sets her apart from many of the other so-called divas today."Heart" - Most Branigan fans feel this could have been a blockbuster hit. More great vocals and the passion and emotion are there as well. Faltermeyer's synthesizers work brilliantly in this song as well."Will You Still Love Me Tommorow" - This is Laura's remake of the Carole King song. Laura pulls it off flawlessly with her soft, yet heart wrenching vocals."Satisfaction" - Another song coveted by the Branigan fans. This has the most "Disco/Dance" feel to it and could have easily been a big hit in the dance clubs. Same message going forward - Laura's vocals shine."Silent Partners" - Possibly one of the strongest songs on the album from a lyrical standpoint. It's about an extra martial relationship being kept low key. Laura's vocals really fit the well of the woman who might be "the other woman" in this relationship."Breaking Out" - Another song with a strong 80s sound. This song is written in the third person and Laura plays the role of narrator and plays it very well. The synthesizers play brilliantly are the chord changes are right on target."Take Me" - Another catchy song. It might not have as strong lyrics as the other songs, but Laura shines well on this as well. She shows some nice range on this one."With Every Beat of My Heart" - This is another emotional song. Laura's really going to dig deep and show some emotion on this song. There are some real powerful vocals and this is the perfect ending to the album.This is a quality collection of songs performed top notch. It's a shame that this album often gets lost when looking back at the great albums of the 1980s. It also shows that when the Divas list is put together - Laura Branigan should be right at the top."
Branagin's Best Album
John A. Kuczma | Marietta, GA USA | 05/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No album should be blessed with as many good songs as "Self Control", but to have them performed with a voice like Laura Branagin's pushes this CD from the outstanding to the sublime.The title cut, "Self Control", and "The Lucky One" are the best known and most commercially successful tracks, but not the best music on the album. "Ti Amo" is a dynamic ballad adding the simplicity of the old "vocal round" and the complexity of multi-tiered harmonies to Branagin's dramatic, emotionally charged lead. "Silent Partners" is a classic slow-dance tear-jerker that is sad without being sappy. "Satisfaction" and "Heart" provide additional support to the above mentioned tracks.Laura Branagin did release a "Greatest Hits" collection a few years after this but, had the gurus at Atlantic Records just slapped a new label on "Self-Control", they wouldn't have been far wrong. This album is a musical tour-de-force and belongs in the collection of every fan of torchy rock vocals."
One of the Most Memorable Voices of the 1980s
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 11/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Born in 1957, Laura Branigan first set her sights on the stage and attended New York's American Academy of Dramatic Art before becoming a noted back-up vocalist. In 1982 she scored a major hit with the single "Gloria;" suddenly much in demand, she soon generated a second album with the hits "Solitare" and "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You"--and then in 1984 released SELF CONTROL. It would be her high-water mark as a recording artist.
Branigan was not a songwriter, but she and her managers knew a good thing when they heard it. Although the first half of SELF CONTROL is stronger than the second, there's not a weak cut in the entire collection. Although there are several ballads on the album, most might best be described as classic 1980s top 40 material, usually mixing an up-tempo dance-friendly beat with sharp guitars.
The collection opens with "The Lucky One," a song that did very well on the charts, fast-paced and crackling with cynical lyrics and tremendous energy; the memorable "Ti Amo" begins delicately but soon transforms into harder edges; a cover of the Carole King classic "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" is delicately performed and remarkably fine. Even so, at least to my mind, the single most memorable track here is the title cut, a dark and disturbing pop-rocker concerning obsessive love; it has an unexpectedly sado-maschochistic edge that perfectly captures the mixture of self-indulgence and sexual paranoia of the decade.
Popular music of the 1980s was beset by excessive synthesizer and intrusive back-up vocals, and SELF CONTROL is no exception. Even so, Branigan's voice carries the weight of these flaws very well. Branigan was said to possess a five-octive voice, but her work here stays almost entirely in the alto range: solid, full-bodied, with an unexpectedly slow vibrato that adds a remarkable sense of emotion to her lyrics.
Branigan's music career gradually faultered as the 1980s wore on and she returned to acting, often appearing on television and in 2002 receiving solid reviews for a New York stage musical bio of Janis Joplin. With her career seemingly on an upturn, fans were shocked when she died suddenly in 2004 of a brain aneurysm. Fortunately, SELF CONTROL and other recordings remain to beguile us.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer"