A lively disc that begins with a series of tempestuous guitar-based rockers including a choice cover of Iggy Pop's "Funtime." His voice remains a cracked shadow of its '80s self, but that only adds to the appeal of the tit... more »le track, "Same Thing in Reverse," and "I'll Adore." --Jeff Bateman« less
A lively disc that begins with a series of tempestuous guitar-based rockers including a choice cover of Iggy Pop's "Funtime." His voice remains a cracked shadow of its '80s self, but that only adds to the appeal of the title track, "Same Thing in Reverse," and "I'll Adore." --Jeff Bateman
J. Brady | PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC United States | 08/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Without a doubt my favourite solo Boy George cd. Sadly it was totally ignored here - I think the harder rock sound on some of the songs put off many of his fans who expected to hear the same blue-eyed soul, dance-pop and reggae he recorded with Culture Club. And in the UK, where he had managed to hang on to at least a little of his commercial and critical clout following the disastrous demise of Culture Club and his heroin addiction, it too fell by the wayside. It has taken me a full ten years of listening to this great cd to figure out exactly why Boy George decided to do a complete 180 and record such an album. A little history lesson, and I'll try to keep this brief. Fashion designer / club owner / performance artist Leigh Bowery decided around 1994 to form a band. He called it Minty, and true to form, he slapped everyone in the face ( and the ears ! ) by performing not what they expected from this scenester ( namely dance/club music ) but instead bashed 'em over the head with a tough, hard rock sound. Following Leigh's AIDS related death mere months later, Minty vaulted to legendary status, and now what little music they actually commited to vinyl is very hard to find. Boy George has gone on record as saying how much he loved Leigh's sense of style, and says in the documentary "the Legend of Leigh Bowery" ( a great movie I heartily recommend ) that he liked to play the profanity laced spoken entry of Minty's "Useless Man" in his DJ sets in straight clubs just to get a rise out of people. I am of the belief that Minty influenced the sound of "Cheapness and Beauty" to a degree, as did George's admitted Bowie fixation. It features several songs that rock really hard. Not to put off the curious buyer, but beware - this ain't your mother's Boy George. The album opens with a tough cover of Iggy Pop's "Funtime" and is full of hard guitars, distorted vocals, and odd squiggly synths. The next track, "Satan's Butterfly Ball" opens with a spoken quote from Leigh Bowery - "What's disturbing about distortion? The agenda isn't beauty, or ugliness. I mean, that's all your ideas" - then launches into a punchy, guitar riff filled and catchy as hell song whose lyrics are a tribute to Bowery's outrageous style and his antics. While many of the songs on this cd are harder rocking, there are some very tender moments. "If I Could Fly" is a string laden, simply beautiful ballad, with some poignant, soul-baring lyrics. The best song , at least my personal favorite, is "Il Adore" written in memory of Stevie Hughes, George's longtime makeup artist. It is very moving, again a ballad, with lush, dramatic strings, and just might be the best song he has ever written. There are also a few nice uptempo folk-pop songs ( folk in that they feature all acoustic instuments, things like fiddles and acousitc guitars, not because of the lyrical content.)"Same thing in Reverse" was the first single release in America. It was remixed for club play but never even dented the charts (the frank lyrics about homosexual relationships probably scared the pants off radio programmers). The title track is an ode to Michael Dunne, George's boyfriend at the time, and is my second favorite song on the disc. Most of the lyrics are autobiographic and George has said "Cheapness and Beauty " is meant as sort of a musical companion to his book "Take It Like A Man". There's one called "Genocide Peroxide" written about his on again, off again friend Marilyn. Another, "Sad Sad Sad" I think is about his long running fued with fellow early-day club hopper Steve Strange. "Unfinished Business", a gentle acoustic number, might seem on first listen to be about George's love affair with Culture Club drummer Jon Moss, but is actually about an earlier relationship he had with Kirk Brandon of the band Spear of Destiny. In between many songs are spoken words, mostly from what sounds like his answering machine. The most funny is the message from Marilyn, which is only very mildy obscene, but kept my previous review of this album from getting published by Amazon because I quoted it. Bottom line, this is a great cd. Very much a departure, but all the better because of it. George is in great voice. The lyrics are at turns smart, biting, hystericaly funny, and heartbreaking. They are queer, to be sure, but never silly, inconsequential, camp or fey. This album speaks to our community in ways that few others have. The variety in the music itself is quite brave. I don't think anyone but Boy George would try to pull something like this off. There's never been anything quite like it before or since. Take a bow, Boy!"
Personally Inspiring - A Wonderful Album
Andrea Whelden | Portland, OR USA | 10/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is very, very special to me. I bought it during a pretty bad time in my life. A few nights after I bought this, I was feeling pretty low when track seven, "Same Thing in Reverse", came on. Here, in this song, were the words I'd been needing to hear - that someone, somewhere out there, knew what it felt like to be different, to be "weird" and misunderstood.
I will forever hold this album close to my heart because it literally changed my life for the better. This album is all about queer power and not taking anyone's b.s. It's about embracing differences and being proud of who and what you are. Every GLBT-friendly person in the world should own this. I seriously wouldn't be who I am today had I not heard the inspiring, loving words contained on this album.
As far as musical styles go, coming from Boy George, you'd assume it would be a pop album. However, this is, in my opinion, first and foremost a rock (yes, ROCK) album. Push all stereotypes or ideas about Boy George far from your mind, and give this title a whirl. You might just find yourself changed forever. I know I was."
A rock masterpiece ...
Dario Margeli | San Jose, CA United States | 05/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was very frustrating when this CD came out, and radio sations in the US didnt play it. Big name magazines didnt review it either. Simply because it was Boy George. The record companies first mistake was trying to promote the CD with the song "Fun Time" becuase its a cover version co-written by Bowie and so it could give them something to write on the promo sheet they would send to programmers. However, the original compositions of this CD are much more original, clever and relevant to our times. With this CD, Boy George showed us that he is unlike artists with fake lives and music, such as Guns and Roses, George Micheal or Kate Bush. Boy George took his weaknesses, his errors, the low points of his life, the horrors and the smallest details and turned them into these powerful songs that totally rock, both in their musical composition as well as their lyrics. Talks about feeling ugly, seeing friends die, drugs, being gay, crooks, poverty... and all in all keeps things uplifting and hopeful! The production is powerfull, sounds great and makes no compromises! I still remember the feeling of playing "Sad Sad Sad" in my car at maximum volume with the windows open, driving thru LA!! It rocked!! Shame on the radio stations that ignored this album. [...]"
Christopher Magnuson | Milwaukee | 07/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Boy George fans will love this cd and those who aren't familiar with George's work will be thrilled to have discovered the artist."