Eurythmics cut loose
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 06/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Over the course of three albums, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart had carved a mighty impressive block of work. But for most, despite the great singles, Eurythmics were hampered by the limitations of a "new wave" sound. So when the MTV World Premiere (remember those?) debut of the video "Would I Lie To You" came on, what a shock to see Annie come out in a leather jacket as Dave coyly whispered in her ear..."just be yourself tonight"...and Annie wailed into Dave's ripping guitar chord with gale force soul.All of a sudden, everything changed. Eurythmics had crossed the bridge from being a very interesting band to a great band. "Be Yourself Tonight" was their most ambitious album to that date; proving that the duo had more up their sleeves than previously thought. Hints of soul that dotted "Touch" and "Sweet Dreams" burst through on "There Must Be An Angel" (featuring not only Stevie Wonder on harmonica, but most of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers) in a manner that only Culture Club had even come close to. But there was no way Boy George would have ever kept up with Aretha Franklin the way that the empowerment anthem "Sisters are Doing It For Themselves" had Annie cavorting with the Queen herself. Yet at the same time, the lovely "Adrian" found Annie making a soulman out of Elvis Costello.Even without the star power of the guests, "Be Yourself Tonight" shown bright on its own. Other, lesser heard songs like "Baby's Coming Back" and "Conditioned Soul" found Dave and Annie working the ideas found on the original albums with the addition of organic horns amidst the swirling synths. To bring the album to a rousing close, there was "Better To Have Lost In Love" which was the most human song that Lennox/Stewart had written.If it isn't obvious that this is my favorite Eurythmics album, let me state it for the record now. One or two of the other albums may have sold better or been a shade more popular, but "Be Yourself Tonight" was the album that still holds a place in my CD collection. To me, it was the pivotal moment when Dave and Annie broke their icey veneer and really did "become themselves.""
A New Sound; A New Voice
D. Aaron Howard | San Diego, CA | 12/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the first few notes of "Would I Lie to You?," it was obvious that the Eurythmics had shed their cool, European sound for something totally new. I remember hearing the song for the first time on the radio and thinking, "What is this?"
On the Eurythmics' fifth studio album "Be Yourself Tonight," the duo tackle the sounds of North America. Drawing from R&B, the Annie and Dave create a brilliant synthesis of Euro Pop Rock and Motown, and with Annie's soulful vocals, how could they go wrong? In fact, Annie Lennox may be one of the few white women on the planet who would dare share a song alongside the legendary Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin (as witnessed on the feminist anthem "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves").
The rest of the album is quite a gem as the band takes the listener on a journey through some well-crafted pop songs. From the gorgeous "There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)" to the bitter "Better To Have Lost in Love," there's not a mistep on the entire album. "Adrian," a duet with Elvis Costello, is an instant classic; "Conditioned Soul" and "I Love You (Like A Ball And Chain)" show that Annie's lyrics still carry the irony and bitterness of their early work; but most precious of all is the powerful fourth single "It's Alright (Baby's Coming Back)." This masterpiece is one of the centerpieces of the album. It showcases Annie's vocal abilities like no other song on the album (and arguably any other song from the band, period). Lennox delivers such a punch on this song, we almost forget the Eurythmics are a duo (sorry Dave!).
After twenty years, this is still a powerful album. In just a couple of listens, one can hear the hard work and creative energy that permeates this recording. Indeed, it's one of the band's finest works and holds some of the greatest hits of the mid-80s."
J. Brady | PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC United States | 01/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just when I thought I had Eurythmics all figured out, that they were the new Yazoo (incredibly gifted vocalist and an experimental, imaginative synth player ) along came BE YOURSELF TONIGHT, which threw me for a loop. My favourite tracks from this cd are the mostly synth based tracks like "it's alright baby's coming back' and " i love you like a ball and chain" because they remind me of the early years of Eurytmics ( synths and Annie's voice, which i adore)
This cd has a sort of organic feel to it, in that it has lots of acoustic instruments ( gritty guitars, strings, sax, etc) and sounds nothing like their first few albums. The songwriting is still strong, of course - top notch - but it's the excecution that I have a slight problem with. It sometimes sounds a little more mainstream than some of their earlier work, kind of a blue eyed soul approach, with all the horns and stuff. Otherwise, it's a pretty decent cd."