Waking Up With the Band on Fire
mwreview | Northern California, USA | 03/26/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This third album by Culture Club was a big disaster for the band in terms of songwriting, and--although these are not always good indications of an album's worth though they are in this case--sales and billboard chart rankings. It was a big disappointing follow-up to the brilliant Colour By Numbers. Even Boy George in his autobiography Take It Like a Man admits it is "the most disjointed album we ever made" (pg. 249). The only real hit off the album was "The War Song" which I think many found to be more humorous than good and was promoted by a big production music video. "War, war is stupid and people are stupid"? It probably received more airplay than it deserved for those patronizing lyrics! "The Medal Song" was the second single about the 1940s actress Frances Farmer who was accused of being a Communist, shut away by her mother and given a lobotomy. Boy George wrote it after watching the film Frances (pg. 255). It is a very disjointed track to the point of annoying. "Mistake No. 3" (the third single) is a nice ballad but unremarkable. Next to "Victims," it really falls flat. The rest of the album goes every which way in terms of styles, some even sounding like show tunes (i.e. "Crime Time"). My favorite is "The Dive," which is rather catchy. Still, it is a far cry from Colour By Numbers which had 5 very recognizable singles and was 80s pop at its best from start to finish. If you must have this album, definitely get the re-mastered 2003 version which includes a number of excellent extra tracks."
An Undeserved Flop.
The Groove | Boston, MA | 09/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Waking Up With the House on Fire" was released in the fall of 1984, and it flopped so badly that Boy George distanced himself from the album. Unlike the band's last two records, it didn't spawn any Top Ten hits, and it didn't even crack the Top 20. However disappointing the sales were, the loss is ultimately the public's, for this is an overall solid release. There's the catchy, if simplistic, "War Song" (George hated this song in particular), the smoothed-out ballad "Mistake No. 3" (which, coincidentally, was the group's third flop single), and "The War Song," which is classic Culture Club with its melange of pop and lightweight reggae. I'm guessing that this record underperformed because it was released too soon after the huge success of 1983's "Colour by Numbers." But, still, it's a good release that's worthy of a second chance--even if Boy George himself doesn't think so."
Probably The Least Popular of the Era
Dorrie Wheeler | 06/12/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This was probably the least unpopular Culture Club album of the 80's. George drastically changed his look for promotion of this release. He sported bright red hair and various brightly colored wigs in the video for the songs first single "The War Song." Culture Club turned political. Not only did the look change, but the music changed. The album didnt really have the reggae sound of the first album or the pop sound of "Colour By Numbers." it just sounded different. Buy this one if you must complete your Culture Club collection.